The FIG Tree, Fair Trade Visitor Centre & Café in Garstang, Lancashire
FIG Tree News
A farewell message from Bruce Crowther,
Director of The FIG Tree
The FIG Tree International Fair Trade Centre will trade for the last time in Garstang on Monday 10 November and reopen at a new location in Lancaster next spring. Updates will be provided through this website and our newsletter available to anyone on request.
The FIG Tree has proved to be an enormous success since its opening in November 2011, by creating a community hub locally, supporting Fairtrade Towns, schools and universities nationally and perhaps most importantly by supporting the Fair Trade Towns movement internationally; from Brazil in the South to Norway in the North and the USA in the West to Japan in the East.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our supporters, customers, donors, staff and volunteers (including our four voluntary Directors) without whom nothing would have been possible. I am deeply saddened by the fact The FIG Tree has to relocate away from Garstang and in particular by the messages I have received pleading for us to stay. Our decision to move had to be made some months back and despite relatively recent offers from Wyre Borough Council to extend our lease and invite us to purchase the building it is all far too little too late.
From the start we have always tried to set up a positive working relationship with our local authorities for the benefit of The FIG Tree, the councils and of course the Garstang community. Sadly however, our efforts have been in vain. There is no doubt that our move will be a great loss to Garstang as the world’s first Fair Trade Town and as the founder of Fair Trade Towns and a proud Garstang resident for over 20 years I feel a deep regret. Our main priority however, has to be focused on the long term sustainability of the FIG Tree as a beacon for Fair Trade internationally. It became apparent some time ago that in order to make further progress we have to move to Lancaster, where we can work in partnership with an organisation and a local authority who understands our needs and what we have to offer.
A timeline of events leading to our decision to relocate and our future Business Plan are available at the following links:
Bruce Crowther MBE
Executive Director, The FIG Tree
November at The FIG Tree
Cookery Demonstration 2nd November
Volunteering roles at The FIG Tree.
We offer volunteering opportunities in our café and shop, school and community
workshops and visits, our exhibitions, tourism, fundraising, marketing and events.
No experience required as training is provided. We offer flexible opportunities
from Monday to Sunday – it doesn’t matter how much or little time you can spare –
we’d love to hear from you.
Come and visit The FIG Tree; the world's first international Fair Trade Visitor Centre located centrally in the world's first Fair Trade Town. The people of Garstang voted for their unique status at a public meeting in April 2000 and since then over 1,500 Fair Trade Towns in 24 countries worldwide, including London, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Brussels, Copenhagen, Oslo, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Vancouver and Wellington in New Zealand have all followed in Garstang's footsteps.
To celebrate Garstang's International success the FIG Tree provides;
A Fair Trade Exhibition focussing on fair trade and trade injustice by exploring the four themes; Fair Trade and Fair Trade Towns, The British Atlantic Slave Trade and its abolition, Quaker Heritage in '1652 country' and chocolate.
A cafe and a shop selling local and fair trade products and our Bean To Bar chocolate
Educational Programme including our innovative and unique interactive chocolate making events using cocoa from New Koforidua and live video links.
A starting point for The Fair Trade Way - a long distance Fair trade Heritage Walk
The FIG Tree also offers:
- Events including Corporate Fair Trade Chocolate workshops and Fair Trade chocolate safaris
- Package Tours to Garstang
- Advice, support and information on the International Fair Trade Towns movement
- A variety of volunteering opportunities and the chance to become a Member shareholder of The FIG Tree
We are always keen to adapt our events to meet your requirements so please contact us to find out what we can do for you.
The town of Garstang has been a pioneering force in the Fairtrade movement. They provide a best practice example of how communities can work together for the benefit of society as a whole. The establishment of the FIG Tree international visitor centre is the logical next stage in maintaining Garstang as a beacon for Fairtrade.
Gordon Brown MP, former Prime Minister, February 2011
The beacon that has started in Garstang can spread like wildfire through the whole country and beyond.
George Foulkes MP, former Under Secretary of State, June 2000
I have had the pleasure of working in the museums and heritage sector for nearly 20 years and I can honestly say that I have never witnessed a more impressive project than The FIG Tree
Steve Miller, Former Chief Executive, Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, (World Heritage site), 2013