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Fair Trade Centre Garstang | Cafe Preston | Chocolate Making Fair Trade Centre Garstang | Cafe Preston | Chocolate Making Fair Trade Centre Garstang | Cafe Preston | Chocolate Making Fair Trade Centre Garstang | Cafe Preston | Chocolate Making Fair Trade Centre Garstang | Cafe Preston | Chocolate Making Fair Trade Centre Garstang | Cafe Preston | Chocolate Making Fair Trade Centre Garstang | Cafe Preston | Chocolate Making

The FIG Tree, Fair Trade Visitor Centre & Café at St. John's Lancaster

FIG Tree News

The FIG Tree has moved

Reluctantly The FIG Tree International Fair Trade Centre has moved away from Garstang (the world’s first Fair Trade Town) and will relocate at St. John’s Church, North Road, Lancaster in spring 2015. Updates will be provided through this website and our newsletter. 

The FIG Tree was an enormous success while in Garstang, 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 without whom nothing would have been possible. I am deeply saddened by the fact The FIG Tree has had to relocate away from Garstang and in particular by the messages I received pleading for us to stay. Our decision to move had to be made some months before our lease terminated in November 2014 and despite subsequent offers from Wyre Borough Council to extend our lease and invite us to purchase the building it was 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

Volunteering roles at The FIG Tree.
There will be a variety of volunteering opportunities developing as we prepare for and then open in Lancaster. If you would like to be part of this new and exciting stage of The FIG Tree's story please contact Emma

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 - it doesn’t matter how much or little time you can spare – 
we’d love to hear from you. 
 To find out about volunteer opportunities click here or contact Emma, our Volunteers Coordinator at 

The FIG Tree is the world's first international Fair Trade Visitor Centre and originally opened in 2011 in Garstang; 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 25 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.

Sadly The FIG Tree closed in Garstang in November 2014, but will reopen in St. John's Church, Lancaster in February 2015. St. John's Church was built in 1754 by Lancaster traders at the height of the British Transatlantic slave trade, at the time Lancaster was Britain’s fourth largest slave trade port.

Continuing the success built up in Garstang The FIG Tree will provide;

A Fair Trade Exhibition focussing on fair trade and trade injustice by exploring the four themes; Fair Trade and Fair Trade Towns, The British Transatlantic 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 unique Bean To Bar chocolate made from beans sourced in New Koforidua, Ghana – the first Fair Trade Town in Africa.

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.

Fair Trade Centre Garstang | Cafe Preston | Chocolate Making

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
Fair Trade Centre Garstang | Cafe Preston | Chocolate Making

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
Fair Trade Centre Garstang | Cafe Preston | Chocolate Making

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
Funded with the help of: UnLtd European Regional Development Fund The Key Fund Heritage Lottery Funding santader logo community foundation logo