It’s September already and here in the UK, harvesting is in full flow. It’s time to think about farmers around the world who toil endlessly – growing cocoa beans, coffee, cotton, tea, bananas, flowers. I found out the other day that September is the time to celebrate all things organic. When I think of “organic”, I automatically think of Fairtrade – The Fairtrade Foundation is the UK based organisation behind the Fairtrade trademark – although, to be fair, not all Fairtrade items are organic.
So, what is Fairtrade? Fairtrade is a global movement with a strong and active presence in the UK. There are over 4,500 Fairtrade products from coffee and tea to flowers and gold. According to Fairtrade’s website, their mission is “to connect disadvantaged producers and consumers, promote fairer trading conditions and empower producers to combat poverty, strengthen their position and take more control over their lives”. Fairtrade’s vision: ” a world in which all producers and consumers can enjoy secure and sustainable livelihoods, fulfil their potential and decide on their future”. Fairtrade has strict standards for companies, farmers & workers as well as ensuring that worker’s rights are maintained, that payment is made of at least the Fairtrade minimum price and that extra money is given to reinvest in business/community projects of the community’s choice. By choosing to buy Fairtrade goods, you can positively help farmers, workers & their communities.
Buying Fairtrade products is easier than you think – products are on sale in supermarkets, independent shops, cafes, restaurants, catering suppliers & wholesalers, as well as online. I’m lucky, my local village coffee shop/book shop is also the local mecca for Fairtrade goods from companies such as Divine and Traidcraft. It’s great to see the crafts, products, jewellery and clothes – they make fantastic gifts and it is great to have a browse.
Divine chocolate – I love the plain dark chocolate but I am tempted to try the Dark Chocolate with Himalayan Salt! Divine is the only mainstream chocolate company 44% owned by the farmers who supply the cocoa! Other Fairtrade chocolates include Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, Green & Black’s Organic, M & S, Rawr Foods, Sainsbury’s “Taste The Difference” White, Dark & Milk chocolate bars, The Co-Op; Meaningful Chocolate Company, Raw Chocolate Company, Traidcraft, Waitrose “Seriously” & Belgian range, and Zotter Chocolate.
Traidcraft do some fantastic stem ginger cookies – I devoured packets whilst I was pregnant with my children ( ginger cookies and lemons/limes were my pregnancy cravings!) Traidcraft itself has been at the fore front of Fairtrade since 1979. The company offers the widest range of fair trade products in the UK. They even do Fairtrade wine – but I haven’t tasted it yet so I can’t comment. I can recommend their range of spices, dried fruits and rices; their craft boxes, jewellery, socks, scarves are all pretty and make good gifts. Their clothing range is pricy but having said that the Fairtrade ethos is fair price to the workers and to be honest I rather pay a bit more knowing that the workers are not young children toiling under horrendous conditions to produce a t shirt. I know that they are getting a decent wage for their labours.
I have included some pictures of the Fairtrade items sold in my local shop … if you wish to find out more about Fairtrade or wish to shop/browse Traidcraft’s goods online, here are some websites you might find useful:
All photos are by Linda Hobden