Linlithgow Academy pupils swapped their classroom for the breakfast studio as they grilled politicians on the issues surrounding Fair Trade.
The Linlithgow Fairtrade Partnership organised the event which tried to get the town to ‘Wake up to Fairtrade’ by hosting a breakfast style show in the school, educating people on the benefits of buying Fairtrade and also sharing politicians views on the issue.
Senior pupils Clare Fischbacher and Jenny Cudmore stepped into the role as TV presenters and were centre stage for the night guiding the audience through a varied programme of live and recorded interviews, film clips and live music.
Clare and Jenny had already interviewed cabinet secretary for culture, Europe and external affairs Fiona Hyslop and West Lothian Council leader John McGinty.
The pair probed the politicians, asking what the Government and the council were doing to support Fairtrade.
Both politicians admitted there is a need for the public sector to include Fairtrade in its purchasing decisions but also said that, significantly, the greatest impact comes from customer demand and our individual decisions about what to pop in our shopping basket.
This view was reinforced by another Academy student, Louisa Marshall, who presented the findings of a survey which the school’s Fairtrade Group had carried out on local shops and cafes.
The survey concluded that if shops did not stock Fairtrade products it was because the owner felt there was no demand for it.
The pupils decided the message was clear, if you want those who produce our food to have safe working conditions and a sustainable wage, demand Fairtrade!
To highlight the benefits of Fairtrade a short film showing the real difference it makes to farmers and their families was shown.
The aim of Fairtrade is guarantee a fair minimum price for workers and create the stability needed for long-term investment and to cope with unpredictable weather.
Pupils from Springfield and Linlithgow Bridge Primary Schools then entertained the crowd with their performance of the Banana Song and other Fairtrade tunes they had learned in school.
Eleven pupils were awarded prizes for their efforts in the ‘Draw a Fairtrade Teapot’ competition, with the winning entries on display in Linlithgow Library.
During the evening the audience enjoyed Fairtrade wine, coffee and tea, and tasted a wide range of Fairtrade foods and home baking made with Fairtrade ingredients.
Ian Fowell, chairperson of Linlithgow Fairtrade Partnership, said, “The Breakfast Show was a great success. I very much appreciate the support Linlithgow folk already give to Fairtrade, but there is still more we can do.
“This year we are asking people to swap one or two items in their shopping trolley for Fairtrade ones, as a small change for us can make a huge difference to farmers.”
Linlithgow was made a Fairtrade town in 2003, shortly after individuals from churches, schools and the council became involved with the Fairtrade Partnership. Since then the town has striven to educate the public on Fairtrade and convince people to buy Fairtrade when they can.