Visitors from Mauritius are just one of the highlights...

Raymisa Alpaca Wool Producers, Peru
Raymisa Alpaca Wool Producers, Peru

As a Fairtrade Zone, it seems only apt that West Lothian has a lot to promote during what is now Fairtrade Fortnight.

This is the 20th anniversary year and during that time, the Fairtrade mark has become the biggest and best known ethical label in the UK.

Tea harvesters at Mpanga Growers Tea Factory near Fort Portal, Uganda.

Tea harvesters at Mpanga Growers Tea Factory near Fort Portal, Uganda.

In 2015 members of West Lothian Fairtrade Zone Steering Group would like local people to think about the producers and the benefits which buying a Fairtrade marked product makes to farmers, producers and communities in some of the world’s poorest countries.

John McGinty, leader of West Lothian Council and chair of West Lothian Fairtrade Zone Steering Group, said: “West Lothian’s Fairtrade groups have been busy and there are lots of events planned.

“Primary schools have embraced Fairtrade Fortnight with many holding Fairtrade Assemblies, coffee mornings and competitions.

“Some schools will be attending a national conference in Glasgow, while others are working directly with those countries most affected by poverty.

“Linlithgow cluster schools are holding a postcard competition and tuck shops, and lessons will have a focus on Fairtrade. A number of churches will also be holding coffee mornings with a Fairtrade theme.”

Eastern magic and mystery come to Linlithgow on Friday, February 27, when Linlithgow Fairtrade Partnership hosts a Fairtrade bazaar in the Academy.

The partnership, which includes representatives of all the local Fairtrade churches and schools, West Lothian Council and other interested individuals, was formed in February 2003 to achieve and maintain Fairtrade Town status for Linlithgow.

With stalls offering jewellery, clothing, gifts and food, there will be a huge range of Fairtrade goods to choose from. You could even buy a Fairtrade football or indulge in a henna painting.

Musical entertainment will be provided by children from Springfield, Linlithgow Bridge and Bridgend Primary Schools, and belly dancers will provide a feast for the eyes. There will be the opportunity to find out about this year’s Fairtrade theme, “The Big ‘Stock It’ Ask”.

There will also be a short presentation about Shared Interest, an ethical investment company which uses investors’ capital to promote justice in developing countries and helps people trade their way out of poverty.

This year, Linlithgow is fortunate to have a visit from some producers from Mauritius, who will explain just what Fairtrade has done for them. They will be available during the evening for a chat.

Also during the evening, prizes will be awarded to the winning entries in the Primary Schools’ competition to write a postcard to a Fairtrade producer.

The Bazaar is being held to mark Fairtrade Fortnight, which this year runs from February 23 to March 8.

The event runs from 7pm to 9pm and tickets, priced £5 for adults to include food and a glass of wine, are available from the Fair TradewindsFairtrade shop, Far from the Madding Crowd, So Strawberry Cafe or at the door. Accompanied schoolchildren will be admitted free of charge.