With Fairtrade Fortnight just over a week away, local businesses and organisations are being encouraged to show their support.
Fairtrade is a global movement with a strong and active presence in the UK, represented by the Fairtrade Foundation.
The independent non-profit organisation aims to change the way trade works through better prices, decent working conditions and a fairer deal for farmers and workers in developing countries.
There are currently 4500 certified and licensed Fairtrade products on sale in the UK including beauty products, chocolate, cotton, fruit, vegetable, flowers, tea, hot chocolate, fruit juice, biscuits, sweets, cereals, jam, honey, ice cream, herbs and spices, olive oil and even gold.
Fairtrade Fortnight 2018 runs from February 26 to March 11 this year and aims to put a spotlight on trade to improve the lives of the farmers and workers who grow our food, who through Fairtrade have come together to demand a change and close the door on exploitation.
Fairtrade works directly with businesses, consumers and campaigners to make trade deliver for farmers and workers.
The Journal spoke to Jack Odell, Grantham’s Fairtrade Town Steering group’s chairman about how businesses in and around Grantham can get involved this fortnight.
How did Grantham first become a fairtrade town?
A few of us from Grantham Baptist Church created a steering group in 2012 to promote the use of Fairtrade products in commercial outlets, education establishements, faith centres in the local area. Following this, the town acquired Fairtrade town status in 2013 when the five conditions laid down by the Fairtrade Foundation were satisfied. These included getting council approval, having a committee in place, ensuring that outlets and cafes and restaurants serve Fairtrade products and to actively promote Fairtrade. Supermarkets, cafes, restaurants, churches and homes across Grantham all use their products.
How does the group mark Fairtrade Fortnight each year?
Since 2013, Grantham Fairtrade Steering Group has organised a variety of events to highlight Fairtrade products around the town with some novel ideas to attract people. We have held a bake off using Fairtrade ingrediants, coffee and tea mornings and I have even dressed up as a life-sized banana to hand out leaflets at Grantham market.
How can businesses get involved?
We appreciate that in the commericial world there are so many pressures on time and resources however, we would appreciate any involvement businesses and organisations are able to provide to promote Fairtrade, using the products they sell or use. We can provide materials to help including posters, stickers for children, information and activities.
Why did you first become involved in the Fairtrade movement?
I lived in Malawi, East Africa, for six years in the sixties. It was my job to look after chickens and their eggs. I have been back to visit since and I have witnesssed villagers walking miles for fresh water. Many of the hospitals have little or no facilities and so it is good to know that some of the money raised will reach these types of places.
For more information about Fairtrade, contact the Grantham Fairtrade Town Steering group at granthamfairtade.gmail.com or www.fairtrade.org.uk