The concept of a Fair Trade Town was well-known in the UK in 1999 when local members of Oxfam in England decided to lift local awareness of Fair Trade by establish the concept of a Fair Trade Town. The campaign wins the support of local businesses, churches, schools, town council and the local media.
A criteria for skill as a Fair Trade Town was created and made dependent on the number of retail stores and cafés supply Fair Trade products in comparison with the populace. There was also a condition for support from local faith groups, schools and the town council. Upon pleasing the criteria, in 1999, town council stated Garstang a Fair Trade Town.
By 2006 there were more than 200 Fair Trade towns in the UK and by 2009 this number had grown to 400, including Dublin, London and Edinburgh. Fair Trade Towns were also appearing throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand and United States. San Francisco qualified in May 2009. By 2010 the number of Fair Trade towns global had exceeded 600.
In Canada, Wolfville, Nova Scotia was stated, by town council, as Canada 1st Fair Trade Town in 2007. extra smaller communities such as, La Peche QC, Port Colborne ON, Gimli MB, and Golden, B.C. were added in 2009, but to date no cities of any important size. In May 2010 Barrie and Vancouver became the first cities of momentous size to be designated by Transfair Canada as Fair Trade Towns.