Christian Aid are holding their usual Poverty and Pastries event at Central URC on Saturday 3rd March from 10 a.m.
FAIRTRADE FORTNIGHT: February 26th – March 11th
Come On In
The Fairtrade Fortnight this year has the theme Come on In focussing on trade to help improve the lives of farmers and workers who produce our food. It is a fact that millions of poor farmers still don’t earn enough to feed their own families. On the plus side, 1.6 million farmers worldwide benefit from the standards set by Fairtrade.
The earliest example of fair trade was in 1946 when Edna Ruth Byler imported needlecrafts from low income women in Puerto Rico, into North America. In 1948 the Church of the Brethren established another North American Fairtrade organisation to import wooden clocks made by German refugees of World War 2. In the 1960s the United Nations Conference on Aid and Development adopted a Trade not Aid policy and the first World Shop was opened in the Netherlands to sell crafts and build awareness.
Things continued to progress with the Fairtrade Foundation beginning in the UK in 1992 and in 2002 the first FairTrade mark was launched. By 2007 Fairtrade retail sales exceeded $1bn (£715m). The first FairTrade goods were tea and coffee but now the range is huge.
Organisations are encouraged to support fair trade. We cannot be a FairTrade church unless we encourage everyone using our premises to use FairTrade goods. Cities too can register and it was good to see that Edinburgh is a Fairtrade City along with many other towns and villages in Britain.
Last year Sainsbury’s decided to launch a fairly traded range of tea and coffee, using their own supply chains rather than those of FairTrade. Tesco seems likely to do the same this year. The FairTrade Foundation works by a lot of organisations pulling together so there is much concern over these recent developments. The worry is that these large supermarket chains are changing suppliers to cut their own costs. At the heart of Fairtrade is the desire to improve the lives of those who have no voice. Surely that is where we stand?