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This article was published 17/2/2016 (1396 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
MANITOBANS have long demonstrated an affinity for fair trade wine and now Sean McHugh hopes they’ll show the same love for coffee, tea, sugar and other products.
The executive director of the Canadian Fair Trade Network hopes to see hundreds or thousands of consumers at the trade show at its national conference at the Fort Garry Hotel this Saturday.
More than 30 tables will be set up from noon until 4 p.m. selling a wide variety of fair trade goods, including spices, fruit and vegetables, beer, cocoa, clothing, children’s toys and soap.
Fair trade is an international movement that aims to change the terms for many products we buy by ensuring the farmers growing them, primarily in developing countries, earn a fair price.
"Once people know about fair trade products and understand the impact (of buying them), they’ll consider it and eventually buy them," McHugh said.
"People are a lot more conscious about the products they purchase than they used to be. Individuals, grocery stores and institutional purchasers, such as universities and municipalities, are willing to make decisions that have positive impacts on people and the environment. Fair trade is about putting people first."
About 350 delegates are expected at the national conference, which runs from Thursday through Saturday.
There are 29 fair trade products on the shelves of liquor stores in the province — including 25 wines, two beers and two spirits — the most of any province. B.C., by comparison, has two.
Some of those wines come from the House of Mandela winery in South Africa, which is run by the family of former president and anti-apartheid crusader Nelson Mandela.
His granddaughter, Tukwini Mandela, will address the conference Thursday evening at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. She will visit the Winnipeg Free Press News Café at 11 a.m. In the past year, sales of fair trade wines in Manitoba have grown 35 per cent.
"We are continually striving to demonstrate responsible business, social and environmental practices," said Laurel Trotter, spokeswoman for Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries.
The commitment to fair trade liquor goes beyond putting them on the shelves. It also puts on a month-long promotion in select stores every year highlighting fair trade products. The house wines at the two casinos in Winnipeg are certified fair trade and they only serve fair trade coffee.
The global fair trade market is approaching $7 billion and is growing at between 10 and 15 per cent annually, McHugh said, but it’s only $200 million in Canada.