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Meld Magazine

Tue Dec 07 2010

Fair@Square Festival

MORE than 50,000 people are expected to attend the fair trade festival at Federation Square this weekend, as more and more consumers are becoming increasingly aware of what they are buying into. Katie Shamash reports.

THE fair trade festival taking place at Federation Square this weekend is worth checking out especially for those who’d like to inject some extra meaning into this season of giving.

In its second year, organisers of Fair@Square are expecting to attract more than 50,000 people to the event.

The line-up of programs and activities are as impressive as the 80 stalls selling products from all over the world.

Fair Fashion Show. Hosted by fashion blogger Lady Melbourne, the Fair Fashion Show will demonstrate that style need not cost the earth with.

Fair Fashion Show. Hosted by fashion blogger Lady Melbourne, the Fair Fashion Show will demonstrate that style need not cost the earth.

The activities have been organised into categories, from Fair Entertainment to Fair Fashion, Fair Talk, Fair Living, Fair Indulgence and Fair Play tents – all designed to inspire, entertain, educate and encourage festival-goers to live more sustainably and effect positive change in their own lifestyles and those of fair trade producers.

You’ll get a chance to sample fair trade coffee and chocolate, watch live cooking demonstrations, learn how to make a bar of soap from natural ingredients, transform an old t-shirt into a fashionable top, and a whole lot more.


Organisers Susanna Bevilacqua and Boby Vosinthavong say the fair trade movement has delivered improved working conditions and a fairer wage for producers, as well as fostered new relationships between suppliers and producers.

“It provides the opportunity for producers to sell some of their class products to a market they didn’t have before, and allows them a secondary source of income,” Ms Bevilacqua said.

“The extra resources can provide better education for their children, and can contribute to growing businesses and communities.”

Stallholders at Fair@Square are all personally involved in the communities that produce their products, she said.

The pair recently travelled to Laos to see how fair trade practices affected silk producers there.

“We cannot just keep on abusing these people and expect to pay the lowest price (for goods) and sell for the highest price. Exploiting workers to get good prices repeats and encourages poverty,” Ms Bevilacqua said.

“If everybody made one small change in the way they shop today, whether it’s changing one cup of coffee to fair trade or buying their next t-shirt fair trade, they will make a big difference.”

Fair@Square takes place December 11 to 12 at Federation Square, from 11am to 6 pm. Visit Moral Fairground for a the full program guide and exhibitor listing.