Fairtrade Fortnight approaches … again. It’s held every year, at the end of February and beginning of March. For more than ten years now, Abergavenny has been an accredited Fairtrade Town – which means that our Council formally supports the sale of Fairtrade products in shops, cafes, hotels and businesses.
Our programme of events is not yet complete, so you may see more about this in March ‘Focus’. But here are a few events to be going on with:
Shrove Tuesday, Feb 21, 11.30 to1.30 in the Methodist hall, Castle St: a Fairtrade pancake lunch, all welcome.
Friday Feb 24, 2.00 pm in the Abergavenny Football Club, Pen y Pound: Kadun Rees of Fairtrade Wales will speak to the U3A monthly meeting
Thursday March 2, 10.30 to 12 at Christchurch hall, North St: a coffee morning with a Fairtrade theme, all welcome.
In addition, we’re hoping for events like a ‘trail’ through town, encouraging visits to many of our Fairtrade outlets; events in some schools; and perhaps tastings and displays at one or two Fairtrade suppliers. Visit our Facebook page for details.
Why should all this matter to us? Because millions of workers throughout the world survive if at all on poverty wages. Because millions of women earn less than the men. Because in far too many poor communities, children cannot go to school and the sick cannot afford health care. When you or I buy a Fairtrade product like coffee or chocolate or wine or clothes, we are ensuring that the people, throughout the world, who produced what we consume, are not only being paid a fair wage but are receiving a premium as well. The Fairtrade premium is an additional sum which is given to improve conditions for local communities. For example, cocoa farmers receive an extra $200 for every tonne of cocoa beans.
And buying Fairtrade is good also for our environment. Fairtrade standards include the promotion of training for farmers, for example advice on switching to environmentally friendly practices, such as developing nutrient-rich soils that support healthy plants and encouraging wildlife to help control pests and diseases.
This has been shown to lead to good agricultural practices, which have encouraged environmentally sustainable production.
Off you go now to the shops or to a coffee bar. Keep your eyes open for that familiar Fairtrade logo. And if you’re a shop owner or manager, please go to the Fairtrade Foundation website fairtrade.org.uk to see the amazing range of Fairtrade products, one or more of which you could perhaps offer from your premises.