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    Flemish city tells vegetarian picnic to serve meat

    Organisers are not happy after the city council of Diksmuide (West Flanders) issued an order that an annual Fair Trade picnic in the town serve meat for the first time. The city authorities believe people should have the choice to eat meat, said Mayor Lies Laridon, according to reports. Until now the picnic only served vegetarian produce

    The picnic is organised as a part of the Butter and Cheese Festival in Diksmuide. The festival is known for unique traditions, including a blindfolded cheese-tasting contest where contestants can win their weight in butter.

    “We chose to set up a vegetarian picnic because there is enough meat available during the Butter and Cheese Festival itself,” said Rik Maekelberg, chairman of Fair Trade Diksmuide. We were already working on our climate and the ecological footprint. That’s why we keep all the products as local as possible, he added in an HLN article. 

    According to alderman Marc Deprez, meat from Diksmuide is indeed sustainable. “Our local farmers can benefit from it. It is about quality and traceable meat that is produced here. That is sustainable. Fair Trade stands for sustainable agriculture, not only for farmers in the South but also in the West. This can only be a promotion for our own high-quality agriculture. “

    Poster from the diksmuide website promoting fair trade city
    “We wonder if we should continue with it,” said Maekelberg. “If we are not allowed to stick to our concept, then why continue?” he added. This would be the fifth iteration of the picnic, if it goes ahead.

    Jules Johnston
    The Brussels Times