Fairtrade Fortnight

This year’s Fairtrade Fortnight runs from 22nd February – 7th March 2010.

The Fairtrade Foundation is the independent non-profit organisation that licenses use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products in the UK in accordance with internationally agreed Fairtrade standards.   Fairtrade Fortnight is an annual event which aims to encourage people to make a difference to the lives of producers in the developing world by choosing fair trade.

Essentially, it’s about giving a fair deal to the people who produce our food in some of the world’s poorest countries. Fair-trading schemes usually aim to pay a premium over the market rate for goods. This ensures that workers get a fair wage and are treated well, and that communities in poor countries can use profits to invest in their future.
This year the Fairtrade Foundation are asking consumers to join in on the “The Big Swap”. For two whole weeks consumers will be asked to swop their usual stuff for Fairtrade stuff.  So your usual bananas for Fairtrade bananas, your usual red wine for a fair-trade option and your usual cuppa for a Fairtrade cuppa.  It is hoped that every swop will prove that the people of the UK want producers in the developing world to get a fairer deal.

The foundation think this is a brilliantly small step to making the world a fairer place meaning all can show their support for developing world producers through what you buy. Two billion people – a third of humanity – survive on less than $2 a day. Unfair trade rules keep them in poverty, but they face the global challenges of food shortages and climate change too.

The Fairtrade foundation strongly believes that developing world producers should be in control of their own lives by simply getting a better deal for the work that they do. 

To quote the BBC Food website:  “There are sceptics who regard fair trade as unfair interference that encourages overproduction of certain crops and makes farmers dependent on handouts.” 

Now it’s over to you…

So, a few questions for you to spark some debate today:

  • Do you think fair trade products taste better than organic or local or food sourced from elsewhere?
  • If it isn’t about taste, is it a product only purchased for the ethical reasons? If that is the case is it truly sustainable as a concept?
  • Do you trust it? Who enforces such a standard when it is applied on such a grand scale?
  • Have you ever wondered whether your money really makes it to the person who needs it the most?
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Feb 09 – Fairtrade Fortnight

fairtradeFairtrade Fortnight 2009 runs from 23 February to 8 March.

This is an annual event which aims to encourage people to make a difference to the lives of producers in the developing world by choosing fair trade.

Here Rob Rees tells us his views…

It is fair to say that I have been around the block a few times when it comes to cookery demonstrations and talks. Many of those are within our education system or perhaps Women’s Institute Groups, big food festivals and so on.

Most of the times as I give out the key messages around food safety or healthy eating the audience are engaged, happy and quite content with the hour or so entertainment neatly arranged for them. However, as with the issue around “Zero Waste Week” last month, the subject of fair trade truly gets people animated, excited and often with split opinions.

The youth of today, you know the ones that always get labelled by us blinkered older generation who often judge books to hastily by their covers, embrace the concept of fair trade so much better and openly than those of us who have formed habits and ideas through years of purchasing and misplaced consumerism.  Maybe it is the information highway and the fact that schools in Gloucestershire can reach out to third world education systems and global influences at a touch of a button, or perhaps it may be just because they care and purchasing power makes a difference. Either way the new generation, the future generation, get it!

I do too. I just have a few things to facilitate the debate for you guys on the blog – devil’s advocate again people….

  • Do fair trade products taste better than say organic or local or food sourced from elsewhere?
    (I love the vanilla @ Cotswold Ice Cream Company, which is a great fair trade product by the way.)
  • If it isn’t about taste is it a product only purchased for the ethical reasons? If that is the case is it truly sustainable as a concept?
  • Can the concept of fair trade, such as long term fixed price contracts for the farmers and producers, be applied to UK production? Shouldn’t that be the norm?
  • How can I trust it? Who enforces such a standard when it is applied on such a grand scale?
  • Does my money really make it to the person who needs it the most?

To quote the BBC Food website:  “There are sceptics who regard fair trade as unfair interference that encourages overproduction of certain crops and makes farmers dependent on handouts.”

What do you think?

Anyway I’m behind the principles of fair trade and look forward to the fortnight that starts on the 23rd February. 

To find out more about Fairtrade Fortnight go to http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/get_involved/fairtrade_fortnight/fairtrade_fortnight_2009/default.aspx