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

FIG Tree News

The FIG Tree @ St. John’s

opening hours are:

1.30pm - 5pm Thursdays

10am - 5pm Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays

Sorry we are closed on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays


We now have an Instagram account


Fair Trade Live calling out across the world

Thirty years since Live Aid and the world called out again, but this time it was a call for action. On Saturday 18th July a 24 hour music festival took place in some of the first Fair Trade Towns across the world. Mayors in most places signed up to the Resolution launched at the 9th Int. Fair Trade Towns Conference in Bristol and messages were sent to world leaders including President Obama in the US and UK Prime Minister, David Cameron.

Festivals took place in Kumamoto, Japan, the first Fair Trade Town in Asia; Saarbrucken, the first Fair Trade Town in Germany; Pays de la Loire, one of the first Fair Trade Towns in France; Lancaster, UK, near to Garstang, the world’s first Fair Trade Town; Media PA, USA, the first Fair Trade Town in the American continents; Ebolowa, working towards becoming the first Fair Trade Town in Cameroon and Poços de Caldas, Brazil, the first officially recognised Fair Trade Town in South America.

Hopefully the event will inspire mayors and politicians from across the world to also sign up to the Bristol Resolution.

The Resolution can be viewed at: Click Here

We recently received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project, ‘The FIG Tree relocating to St John’s Lancaster’. The project focuses on Lancaster’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade during the 18th century with two aspects – the history of St John’s Church, built at the height of the city’s prosperity during the slave trade, and the involvement of Dodshon Foster, a wealthy Quaker slave trader living and working in Lancaster during this period.

If you are interested in volunteering for this project please contact our Volunteer coordinator at:

Friendsof The FIG Tree

We are delighted to announce the return of The Friends of The FIG Tree. To become a Friend you just need to sign up for a regular monthly contribution (however small) by bankers order or internationally by Pay Pal and in return you will receive our Newsletter as well as regular exclusive Friend’s updates, 10% discount at The FIG Tree café and priority booking for events. Active volunteers will automatically become members. Our aim is to register ‘The Friends of The FIG Tree’ as a charity and collect valuable Gift Aided donations that will be put back into the educational projects and development of the centre. For further information and to register an interest follow this link:


Volunteering roles at The FIG Tree at St. John's
There are a variety of volunteering opportunities at St. John's. If you would like to be part of this new and exciting stage of The FIG Tree's story please contact

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 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 reopened 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 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 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
The FIG Tree is supported by: UnLtd European Regional Development Fund The Key Fund Heritage Lottery Funding santader logo community foundation logo Asia Hope Camp