Residents are being encouraged to do their bit during Fairtrade Fortnight by changing the way they shop.

The theme of this year’s event is The Big Swap with people being encouraged to swap their usual products for fairly-traded goods.

Special events are also being held across the area to mark Fairtrade Fortnight with schools and churches among the groups taking part.

Malton and Norton were granted Fairtrade status in June 2008 following a two-year campaign to encourage the sale of products and goods at shops and cafes in the towns.

This status was renewed in December, following the success of a Christmas shop during which £2,300 of Fairtrade goods were sold and seven schools getting involved in the campaign.

Town ambassador Sarah Lally-Marley said it was important that as many people as possible supported the events taking place.

“I think it is important that as consumers we understand the importance of buying Fairtrade goods and supporting communities in developing countries, so I would encourage everyone to pop along to an event near them to find out more and sample some of the wonderful food and drink on offer,” she added.

“Being a Fairtrade town is something we can be incredibly proud of and it is a credit to the businesses in both Malton and Norton who use and sell Fairtrade products that the town has achieved this status.”

Events planned for Fairtrade Fortnight include: Today (Wednesday): Hope Central, Castlegate, Malton, Fairtrade stall 11.30am-3.30pm. Saturday, February 27: Settrington Village Hall, coffee morning and Fairtrade stall, 10am-noon; Hope Central, Malton, Fairtrade stall 10.30am-3.30pm. Sunday, February 28: St Mary’s Church, Old Malton, Fairtrade refreshments and stall following 11am and 6.30pm services; St Peter’s Church, Norton, Fairtrade stall after 9.45am service. Tuesday, March 2: Big Brew event, 4 Quarry Bank, Malton, 2.30pm. Wednesday, March 3: Hope Central, Castlegate, Fairtrade stall, 11.30am-3.30pm. Thursday, March 4: Huttons Ambo, Springfield House, coffee morning and Fairtrade stall, 9.30am-11.30pm; Ambiente tapas restaurant, Malton, Fairtrade meal, 7.30pm. Friday, March 5: St Mary’s Church, Old Malton, Fairtrade stall 2.30pm. Saturday, March 6: Big Brew event, Friends’ Meeting House, Greengate, Malton, 10am-noon; Saville Street Methodist Church, Malton, Fairtrade stall, 10am-1pm. Sunday, March 7: St Peter’s Church, Norton, Fairtrade presentation, Big Brew event and Fairtrade stall, 9.45am.