18 October, 2017

Bev Toews – Lifetime Achievement Award

Bev Toews
by Bev Toews

Social justice has been important to me for as long as I can remember. As a 13 year old, I led a school wide strike when my Junior High's school board did not renew the contracts of two first year teachers who students admired and respected. We weren't able to change the outcome but the action was very empowering. 

Thirty four years ago my passion for social justice turned down the fair trade path when I received a Cooking More With Less cookbook from Ten Thousand Villages as a wedding present.  I devoured the introduction of this book and every tidbit of information contained throughout its pages that described how my consumption impacted people in the global south.  I have explored, researched and supported fair trade ever since.

The book’s author suggested living one’s life based on the following criteria which I continually strive to incorporate into my life:

  • Live Simply
  • Do justice
  • Cherish the Natural Order
  • Nurture People
  • Learn from the World Community
  • Non-conform Freely

For the past 8 years I have had the privilege of networking with the fair trade community in Canada and around the world.  As a part of this network, I have been supported, educated and have even overcome my fear of wearing a banana costume. Being able to meet producers has been particularly interesting and valuable for me. Hearing from the people we strive to support validates the work we are doing. It has been inspirational for me to see the huge growth realized in the fair trade movement because of this network and exciting to see the enthusiastic, dedicated people involved.   

I am proud to be the chairperson of our Town of Olds Fair Trade Town committee, a member of the Olds High Fair Trade School steering committee and a board member of the Canadian Fair Trade Network. I would like to thank Fairtrade Canada for honouring me with this award.