Fair Trade Towns founder Bruce launches Kickstarter book crowdfunding appeal

Lancashire based Fair Trade campaigner Bruce Crowther has launched a fundraising appeal to finance a book about his life in the Fair TradeTowns movement.

By Fiona Finch
Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 12:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 12:38 pm

Bruce, 61, has set a target of raising £1,900 in 30 days. The book entitled: 'Not in My Lifetime - A Fair Trade Campaigner's Journal' will provide a first hand account of Bruce's pioneering role in the international Fair Trade Towns movement and much more besides.

It is due to be published on November 22 this year - which will be the 20th anniversary of the Lancashire market town of Garstang becoming the world's first Fair Trade town.

He said: "We now have just 30 days (until June 30) to raise the £1,900 needed to to get the book professionally edited, designed, printed and made available to purchase internationally. "

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Bruce Crowther pictured with the Fair Trade bean to bar chocolate made by The FIG Tree (photo: Neil Cross)

Recalling the founding of the Fair Trade Town's Movement the former vet ,whose home is now in Dolphinholme,near Garstang,said: "When the people of Garstang, a small, northern English market town, self-declared as the world’s first Fair Trade Town in April 2000, nobody knew that the idea would grow to become a worldwide movement consisting of over 2,000 Fair Trade communities in 34 countries and stretching across six continents.

"Today Fair Trade Cities include London, Dublin, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, Brussels, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Seoul, Chicago and San Francisco.

"As the person behind the Garstang campaign and founder of the movement I have had the privilege of telling what became known as the ‘Garstang Story’ across the world; from Peru to Japan and from Norway to Ghana.

" My story inspired many other activists to follow in Garstang’s footsteps including Elizabeth from Media, the first Fair Trade Town on the American continents, Stale from Sauda, the first Fair Trade Town in Norway, Shoko from Kumamoto, the first Fair Trade Town in Asia and the people of New Koforidua in Ghana that became Africa’s first Fair Trade Town."

Bruce pictured in the room which will be used for bean to bar chocolate making and a display of Fair Trade exhibits Photo: Neil Cross

Bruce, a father of three, said he has written his story down following requests from other campaigners, explaining: "I started to write my personal account of the Fair Trade Town movement and how too, it influenced the setting up of The FIG Tree International Fair Trade Centre in Garstang and the development of our Fair Trade/slave trade projects and chocolate workshops."

Describing the book as "written by a grassroots campaigner about the founding of an international movement for change" he said: "It is not a diary recording events as they happened, nor is it just an autobiography providing an account of my life. It is instead, a Journal, an inspirational and aspirational piece of writing, exploring my ideas as they took shape, while describing the events that led to the creation and further development of the movement."

Bruce worked for nine years with the Fairtrade Foundation, helped to set up the Fair Trade Way, set up the FIG Tree International Fair Trade Visitor Centre in Garstang and is a sub chief in the cocoa farming community of New Koforidua, Ghana.

The former Oxfam campaigner, who was awarded the MBE for services to Fairtrade and Oxfam said: "The book also combines with aspects of my own personal life story - including my beliefs and views based on life experiences throughout almost four decades of campaigning. The story includes my childhood experiences, my early travels across Europe, to Kenya and Nicaragua and how I set about challenging the injustices of an unfair trading system levelled against the world’s poor."

The former FIG Tree visitor centre and cafe which was located in the (now demolished) Garstang Community and Business Centre

His enthusiasm and passion for his campaign has not always won support. He was included in the former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s book ‘Everyday Heroes’ but The FIG Tree Fair Trade Centre and cafe he set up in Garstang closed amid redevelopment plans for the council owned business and community centre, which was subsequently demolished.The FIG Tree found a new home in Lancaster at St John's church, which then flooded and Bruce had to pack his displays, about Fair Trade and the slave trade away. He had hoped they would find a new home in Lancashire but has now loaned some of the exhibits to Fair Trade Yorkshire and hopes some will be displayed at the Wilberforce Museum in Hull . He has continued making Fair Trade FIG Tree bean to bar chocolate, and now hopes to create a mini display with remaining exhibits in thechocolate making workshop area being created at Bruce and wife Jane 's new home in Dolphinholme. This will be open to interested visitors by appointment. Meanwhile The FIG Tree continues as an organisation with Bruce as Executive Director.

He predicts the book will be of interest to a wide range of people and organisations because Fair Trade Towns movement "involves all aspects of a community".

He continued: "It is important to find a way to make the book accessible to all. Most recently, during Fairtrade Fortnight 2021, I was invited by Christina Longden, Writer in Residence for Kirklees Libraries, to speak about my book for one of Kirklee's broadcasts. The talk is now available on YouTube (Kirklees Libraries channel). There were many requests to be able to buy the book – in print – as soon as possible."

To encourage donations Bruce has set up a "rewards" system ranging from

Putting Garstang on the map - Bruce pictured in Seoul, South Korea in 2013 for the laucnh of its Fair Trade City campaign

* For a £20 pledge - a 40g bar of FIG Tree bean to bar chocolate made using cocoa sourced from New Koforidua, Ghana – Africa’s first Fair Trade Town.

* For a £40 pledge – a paperback signed copy of the book with individual thank you message t

*For a £150 pledge – spend a day with Bruce making bean to bar chocolate in the new FIG Tree workshop once completed.

*For a £300 pledge – a maximum of 4 people can join Bruce on a guided tour of Garstang – the world’s first Fair Trade Town and be treated to coffee/tea and cake in Piper’s restaurant where the Fair Trade Towns idea was first born.

Any profits from book sales will go to The FIG Tree, Oxfam and the Lorna Young Foundation. To make a pledge see https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/brucecrowther/getting-the-fair-trade-towns-story-into-print or see here .

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Bruce pictured with sign noting Garstang's role as the world's first Fair Trade town (Photo: Neil Cross)
The FIG Tree makes chocolate from fairly traded cocoa beans - photo shows Bruce Crowther with a selection of cocoa beans (photo: Neil Cross)
Bruce pictured checking over the words for his new book, pictured at home in Dolphinholme. Photo: Neil Cross
Bruce pictured in August 2019 presenting cocoa farmer Patricia Adwubi of New Koforidua with a chocolate bar made from her cocoa beans