(OLDS, Alberta – December 20, 2019) When Olds Institute formed the Fair Trade Olds committee, it likely didn’t imagine the visibility it would have gained for the community a decade later.

“We’ve had a presence on the national stage on several occasions, with our youth at Olds High School to the awards we’ve won and international producers we’ve hosted in Olds,” says Bev Toews, Fair Trade Olds Chair. “Now with the National Conference hosted in Calgary March 13 and 14, 2020, we have an opportunity to showcase our local accomplishments once again as we co-host this event.

“This Conference will be a great stage to profile the work we’ve done locally, specifically here in Olds.”

The 10th anniversary celebrations began last month as the group hosted several events and made special appearances during Olds Fashioned Christmas celebrations. The glad tidings continue into the holiday season with the release of their very own 10th anniversary beer, “Yule Love It”.

Created at the Olds College Brewery, the chocolate coffee stout is a seasonal beer that blends local barley with Fairtrade Certified chocolate and coffee. “It’s wonderful to see a product that blends the efforts of agricultural producers from two hemispheres of the planet,” says Toews. “To have it ready for residents to enjoy as they gather to celebrate the holiday season is perfect timing. It can really spark conversation about the uniqueness of the product, and how using Fairtrade Resiprocate coffee and Camino cocoa has a positive impact for producers in other parts of the world.”

Two kegs of this special stout will be held in reserve for a tasting during the Awards evening at the Fairtrade Conference in March.

“The Conference is shaping up to be one of our best,” Toews continues. “The schedule includes youth sharing their experiences and driving action to incorporating fair trade policies and adoption at corporate and municipal levels. It’s going to be packed with information for retailers, social enterprises, community administrators, and more. It would be very informative for anyone interested in attending.

“Of course,” she adds, “everyone is looking forward to sampling our beer too.”

Fair Trade Olds had small beginnings as an off-shoot committee within Olds Institute. With the efforts of an enthusiastic and small group of dedicated volunteers, the committee managed to get Olds designated the very first Fair Trade Town in Alberta in November 2009.

Ten years later, it remains one of only 27 communities in Canada to carry this title.

“The great thing about Olds Institute is that whenever we are presented with a challenge, instead of thinking, ‘What’s the minimum we are obliged to do?’, we prefer to think ‘How much can we accomplish, and how can we include the community?’ And when we think we started with just a few retailers to today when Fairtrade products are available throughout town, and now with our own special beer, it demonstrates how amazing the people of this community are in adopting something new and life-changing, even if the lives they change are a world away.

“At the end of the day, it is the people of the community that make the difference. It’s the businesses who stock the shelves, and it’s the residents who make the purchases. We are what makes Olds the unique and strong community that others look to when they seek innovative ideas. We all practice the motto, ‘Local Choices for Global Voices’ every day in our town. Thank you to all of you who lift Olds and Fair Trade up on this international platform.”

Toews acknowledges and thanks the Town of Olds for being a silver sponsor of the Conference.


Toasting Yule Love It Beer by OC Brewery (L to R): Jason Popesku, Brewmaster; John Mancenido, Label Designer; Gina Horwood, Canterbury Coffee (Resiprocate); Bev Toews, Fair Trade Olds Chair.