Did you know that we are a `Fairtrade Parish` ?
Probably not. Does that mean much ? Well, in all
honesty, it doesn't mean as much as it should - at least,
By next month, though, I hope that it may all become a lot
clearer. The 9th -16th March has
been designated "Fairtrade Fortnight", and we will be circulating
our own leaflet to help more people to understand what it
is all about. I offer some extracts - here are ways
that we can all make a real difference to others' lives (and
go on doing so) without it being `charity` - it's
just trade that is `fair`.
`Fairtrade` is not a brand of products (like `Nestle`),
it is an independent label (like 'organic') awarded
to products by the `Fairtrade Foundation`. This
label guarantees that producers in developing countries will
receive a fair deal for their produce.
Worldwide, large scale producers are squeezing out small scale
producers. Farmers and others often have to sell their goods
at prices which do not cover costs - let alone make them a
profit. Consequently, people are forced to live in a
level of poverty that we would find hard to comprehend (let
alone manage to live with).
`Fairtrade` is not about charity - if producers are
paid a fair price for their products, they do not need charity.
Buying `Fairtrade` brings us good quality goods whilst
bringing others a better quality of life. The `Fairtrade
* Fair prices -- a living wage
* Decent working conditions -- improved health and safety
* The security of long-term contracts
* Respect for all -- no more child or forced labour
* Environmental improvements -- less chemical use
* More control over their own lives -- no need for charity
How can we help ? It's simple. Just buy products
with the `Fairtrade` label - and tell other people
all about it. There are over 1,300 `Fairtrade`-certified
retail products. These include: bananas, citrus, coffee,
tea, mangoes, sugar, fruit-juice, honey, snacks, chocolate,
cocoa, roses, footballs, wine, beer, and cotton goods., and
the range is constantly growing.
All the big supermarkets stock `Fairtrade` goods,
and several well-known coffee shops serve Fairtraded drinks
- Marks & Spencer serve only Fairtraded drinks, so why
not make a point of looking out for them every time you go
shopping (or have a cup of coffee).
Then, of course, there are many things other than food that
are `Fairtraded`. Why not drop in to the Elstead
United Reformed Church on the first Saturday of each month,
10 am to 12 noon, when they have a large range of `TradeCraft`
goods of all sorts - and sell `Fairtrade` coffee to
drink, of course !
P.S. Your local
`Spar` shop also sells a few `Fairtrade` items
- please make sure you ask for them, and encourage them to
stock a wider range. They are limited at present by
their supply system, but customer pressure can work wonders