Last Saturday volunteers from our local group had a stall at the Howard Centre Welwyn Garden City to promote Fairtrade. A lot of people stopped by to find out more about Fairtrade, they also signed the national Fairtrade petition seeking a better deal for banana farmers around the world. This year we had the added bonus of the Fairtrade Fruit Machine! A group of young people from Panshanger Church, along with our group member Jo, created and ran the fruit machine for fascinated children and bemused shoppers. A lot of fun was had and much Faitrade fruit and chocolate was won, thanks to the enthusiasm and laughter the girls put into it. Our group sends out a big cheer to them for a great job well done, see the picture below.
The Fairtrade Friut Machine crew at the Howard Centre
In addition the ever friendly Mayor, Howard Morgan, joined us to as he had done in previous years. Our thanks to him for coming along to show his support, drawing attention our stall and the Fairtrade cause. It’s re-assuring to have the support of such a prominent local dignitary. A picture of the mayor with some of those running our stall can be seen below. A big thanks also to Gill Pinfold who took the photo and organised much of the event, and to the Howard Centre who gave us the pitch.
Mayor Howard Morgan, Will Davis, Jo Loney, and the girls of the wonderful Fairtrade Fruit Machine.
The Food Programme on Radio 4 focused on the future of Fairtrade in the Feb 23rd edition, you can listen to it by clicking here.
Meanwhile, please take a look at the FF 2014 short film about the humble banana and the plan to get a better deal for growers and plantation workers:
You can increasingly buy clothes made from Fairtrade cotton, Sainsburys in WGC particulalry has a lot of it. Have a look at this short video to find out what makes it fairer than non Fairtrade cotton:
We thank the council agreed to sign this declaration and we applaud them for doing so. It shows a wider concern for the poverty that faces so many people around the world and an awareness that relatively small local actions like this can make a difference.
Our Fairtrade stall at Sainsburys, Welwyn Garden City, with mayor Helen Bromley
Fairtrade Fortnight this year runs from 25th February to the 10th March. In what has become tradition over at least the last five years our group has been holding stalls at local events to raise awareness of Fairtrade issues and products. We have visited the University of Hertfordshire and Springmead School in Panshanger, Welwyn Garden City. At the school we gave an assembly talk and had a stall at two parent-teacher evenings. The children at the school really impressed us with their knowledge and enthusiasm around Fairtrade issues. Well done to all of them!
On Saturday the 2nd we held a stall at Sainsbury’s, Welwyn Garden City. We chatted to shoppers about Fairtrade and handed out leaflets, as well as running as short prize quiz which was well received by local youngsters. It is heartening how many people are now aware of the Fairtrade mark and what a lifeline it can can for hard pressed farmers in developing countries.
Welwyn Hatfield mayor Helen Bromley visited us at the Sainsbury’s stall on Saturday. The mayor always draws people in to any event she attends and we are grateful to her for taking the time to visit us and hear about Fairtrade progress locally. Her presence on the stall certainly caught shoppers attention. The group photo above shows our group’s stall and members, as well as many of the Sainsbury’s staff. On the right you can see mayor Helen Bromley with store manager Adrian Clarke standing beside her (holding a bottle of Fairtrade wine). We would also like to thank the team at Sainsburys for helping make the event a success. You can see a selction of Fairtrade special offers they are currently running by clicking HERE.
Lastly, but by no means least, the store also ran a free Fairtrade wine tasting yesterday. Free samples were offered to passing shoppers by a very friendly member of staff, what better way to enliven the weekly supermarket shop!
Fairtrade wine tasting at Sainsburys
Next weekend we will be in the Howard Centre, Welwyn Garden City. Please come and say hello if you see us.
Thanks also to Gill Pinfold, Denis Hawes, Will Davis, Linda Finn, Janet Corlett, Tony Scottowe for organising and manning the stall.
We have recently applied to renew our Fairtrade Borough Status. The group has been through all the paperwork, added details of our campaigns and events and we are now awaiting news from the foundation HQ. Fingers crossed we will hear some good news in January 2013.
As usual our group is always happy to have new members, or just people with an interest in Fairtrade who would like to attend one of our monthly meetings. If you want to find out more get in though thi site.
As part of the Olympic Torch Relay events there was a food festival last Saturday in Welwyn Garden City town centre. Our group had a stall and we sold cakes and chocolate to the hundreds of festival visitors. Our homemade cakes and especially meringues went down a storm. The Rocky Road was also a big hit and quickly sold out! All were of course made with Fairtrade sugar and chocolate.
Despite the threatening weather it was a really busy, really fun day. We also raised some much needed funds. Below are a few pictures from the day. As ever we would love to hear from anybody who might be interested in supporting our group and attending our meetings which take place about every six weeks.
A huge thanks to everyone who helped on the day, and those dedicated cooks that supplied our delicious food, at the end of the day we were left with only crumbs, it all went!
Who can resist a strawberry and cream meringue?
We were running out of Strawberries!
Our home made offerings
A family browse our Fairtrade wares...
Perhaps the cocoa in your Kit Kat was harvested by children 'having a break' ...from school.
Food giant Nestle is back in the news this week, and for the wrong reasons. The government of Ivory Coast believes that 89% of children in that country are involved in Cocoa farming, making child labour a huge issue. Nestle buys around 10% of all the worlds cocoa, so that we can enjoy KitKats and the array of other confectionery they tempt us with. It’s an irony that most people, children or adults, involved in farming cocoa have never tasted chocolate. It’s not processed into something edible where they live, and even if it was they couldn’t afford to buy it.
The US based Fair Labor Association have worked on a report alongside Nestle which finds there is still much work to be done, if Nestle is serious about delivering on it’s social responsibility claims. It’s worth noting that Fairtrade is of course not the same as Fair Labour. Fairtrade does require producer companies to treat staff fairly, for example by paying minimum wages as set by the global watchdog the ILO. The Fair Labour Association though is more closely focused on workers rights in factories and and farms. The two organisations together wield a lot of power, that can be wrought to improve the lot of millions of people around the world. Under the UN convention on the Rights of the Child anyone under eighteen should not be in full time work. Under international law therefore it is illegal for children to work. In practicality of course enforcing that is very difficult, especially if there are no schools for children to attend where they live.
Below are a couple of articles about the Nestle issue which throw more light on the issue and the actions underway to improve the situation.
The FLA article and report can be found here.
A recent BBC report on this story can be found here.
All this worth pondering next you ‘Have a break…’
On Saturday the 19th we had a stall at the South Hatfield Fete which took place at the High View shopping centre in Hatfield. There was music, dance, cakes, and of course tombola. The rain held off and people had a enjoyable afternoon. Our Fairtrade stall was quite busy, even local MP Grant Shapps stopped by to buy some delicious Divine chocolate.
Below is a picture of our stall and volunteers:
Our Fairtrade stall at South Hatfield fete in High View
We had also had a ‘guess the contents of the jar’ competition which we’ll be continuing at our next event, the Howe Dell school fete in Hatfield on the 26th May.
Our group would love to recruit a few more members! If you are interested in Fairtrade matters, or just development issues generally why not join us?
We are a small and friendly group of people from a variety of backgrounds, we informally meet about every six weeks over tea and biscuits to progress various small projects and talk about Fairtrade related matters. Both in the local context…What new Fairtrade products have you seen lately? Or global…Did you know about Fairtrade Gold?
We have occasional stalls at events and volunteers are welcome to help out at those, if they have time. We realise that time is a precious commodity but we don’t need a lot of your time. Just an interest and ideas about how we can promote the use of Fairtrade products around Welwyn Hatfield.
If you’d like to find out a bit more get in touch through the site, or call 0752 611 8310, thank you.