Over the course of the next two weeks, you may well find yourself part of a 'green conversation'.

Did you know that Dorset is already home to ten Fairtrade towns - including Bournemouth and Poole?

Organisers of this year's Fairtrade Fortnight, which runs from Tuesday, February 28 until March 12, are hoping to increase that number with the help of the annual Love Dorset event.

Various events will be taking place throughout the county in the run up to the Love Dorset gala evening, which is partnering with the official Miss Dorset competition, to take place at the Hilton Hotel, Bournemouth, on March 12.

The glamorous celebration aims to inspire people to live life in an ethical fashion, which will tackle climate change and create a more sustainable future for us all - in the hope of making Dorset a Fairtrade county.

"It's a celebration of our ten Fairtrade towns, also the Miss Dorset competition," explains sustainability consultant Kelly Levell.

"She becomes the ambassador for our not-for-profit organisation WeDoReDo, which focuses on charitable projects that tackle climate change.

"I did Bristol's Big Green Week gala event - I had an ethical fashion show, I organised a shopping village and I wanted to bring that experience home to Bournemouth. I was born and raised here.

"It's good to get the community going. We've got a five-year plan to make Dorset a Fairtrade county and build on the Miss Dorset thing."

Kelly, who has a real passion for ethical fashion, is keen to stress that Miss Dorset is a long way from the beauty pageants of old, and that they are looking for a well-rounded, ambitious young lady who will become the ambassador for We Do Ethical Living.

Categories, some of which will be awarded throughout Fairtrade Fortnight, ahead of the gala evening, include Miss Beautiful Mind and Miss Fairtrade.

Love Dorset's official launch takes place on Monday, with the launch of the ten Miss Dorset finalists, and will be followed with various events such as a conference day and a shopping village in Poole, welcoming both ethically minded companies and all local businesses, with a focus on promoting ways of "doing business better" and attracting new, "conscious" customers.

A Dorset Scone Bake Off is also being held at Bournemouth University, which supports the Love Dorset Festival, on March 1 from 10am to 3pm as part of the Miss Fairtrade round, when the ten Miss Dorset finalists will be set a challenge to bake using Fairtrade, organic and locally-sourced ingredients.

"It's about being positive and encouraging people," explains sustainability consultant Paul Farwell.

"Fairtrade is still only about one per cent of the whole global economy. We are reaching out to people who have no awareness. But people are listening."

Love Dorset will finish with the grand finale of the Miss Dorset awards ceremony at the Hilton Hotel in Bournemouth on Sunday, March 12, when reigning beauty Stephanie Wyatt will crown this year's winner.

All profits from the evening will support community projects through Dorset not-for-profit organisation WeDoReDo.

Both Kelly and Paul hope the event will raise awareness and inspire the local community to make ethical lifestyle choices, with support from the Fairtrade Foundation and local businesses already taking actions to be greener and more socially responsible.

"This is my home town and it's about making it the best it can be," say Kelly.

  • To find out more about Love Dorset and the Miss Dorset competition, follow WeDoReDo on Facebook on Twitter. Tickets for the gala evening at the Hilton on March 12 can be booked by calling 01202 057612 or emailing info@alistbusiness.co.uk Tickets for the Dorset Scone Bake Off are available from eventbrite.co.uk/e/love-dorset-fairtrade-day-tickets