Fairtrade Fortnight

Thursday, 23 February 2017

With world events seeming pretty unpredictable and perhaps a little depressing at the moment, Fairtrade Fortnight is something positive to get stuck into and nicely coincides with the arrival of spring, lighter evenings and warmer weather.

Not heard of Fairtrade Fortnight before?

Fairtrade Fortnight marks two weeks of focus on all-things Fairtrade and is run and paid for by the Fairtrade Foundation based in London. The first ever Fairtrade Fortnight took place in 1997 and the promotional campaign has been celebrated ever since as an annual event. Not just celebrated here in the UK, the movement has spread to other countries too including Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada1.

When is it this year?

In 2017, Fairtrade Fortnight spans from Monday the 27th of February until Sunday the 12thFairtrade Fortnight of March and despite its serious underlying messages and noble aims, the fortnight will be focussed on fun2.

What is Fairtrade?

The Fairtrade movement revolves around securing better working conditions, prices and trading terms for farmers and workers around the globe as well as improving their local communities. There’s a strong chance that you’ll have seen or even bought products bearing the Fairtrade Mark, which guarantees that the organisation’s hard-negotiated economic, environmental and social standards will have been maintained in the items’ ethical production.

Fairtrade products

Food and drink items typically associated with Fairtrade include tea, coffee, rice, cocoa, cotton, bananas and flowers. The entire Fairtrade setup is actually 50% owned by farmers and the people who work for them. The Foundation, which is part of Fairtrade International, was formed in 1992 by member organisations including Oxfam, Christian Aid and Global Justice Now.

How can you get involved?

During Fairtrade Fortnight 2017, people across the UK are encouraged to organise refreshment breaks in various locations from their homes and workplaces to local shopping centres, churches and village halls. With Fairtrade’s principles and objectives along with a selection of products bearing its Mark as the main focal points, organisers have free rein to take their ‘break’ events to whatever scale they can handle. The more fun, the better, with ‘winter-warmer’ breakfast events, bake-offs, poetry contests, film screenings, retro themes and Mad Hatter’s tea parties all possible3. People taking part in Fairtrade Fortnight can also obtain permission to set up a stall and display stands, raising awareness for the world’s ethical farmers and their produce.

All ages can embrace Fairtrade Fortnight

If you’ve got children or grandchildren of school age, you may have seen their school or other schools getting involved in Fairtrade Fortnight before, regardless of whether they were schools with official Fairtrade status. Eastcroft Park School in Kirkby in the North West, for example, decided to task its pupils with creating their own breakfast bars using only Fairtrade ingredients4.

Last year, teenagers from Cambridge working towards their Duke of Edinburgh Award walked 25 kilometres with one of them dressed as a banana5, which is a great way for raising awareness if you’re an extrovert.

The Women’s Institute (WI) also gets involved in Fairtrade in the hope that its members and their families will start taking a closer interest in where the products they buy come from and how they’re produced. Bananas were also a recent focus for ladies from Wells-next-the-Sea WI in Norfolk6, which is a Fairtrade town.

From large and rather formal events with presentations and keynote speakers, such as the one arranged by Lincoln University7, to simply taking a few moments to examine the label before you pop a product into your basket or trolley, getting involved in Fairtrade Fortnight will have long-lasting effects for farmers and the world we live in. You may even be fortunate to live close to a shop offering free tasters as part of Fairtrade Fortnight, like the free chocolates on offer in Staffordshire8.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairtrade_Fortnight

2. http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/en/get-involved/current-campaigns/fairtrade-fortnight

3.http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/~/media/fairtradeuk/get%20involved/documents/current%20campaigns/fairtrade%20fortnight%202017/fairtrade-fortnight-action-guide-2017.pdf

4. http://www.eastcroftpark.co.uk/fairtrade-fortnight-1/

5. http://www.cravenherald.co.uk/daleslife/14392406.A_Craven_Diary/

6. http://www.wells-next-the-sea-fairtrade.org.uk/fairtrade-fortnight-2014/

7. http://environment.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/files/2015/02/Twitter-Banner-for-Fairtrade-Fortnight-4th-March-Event.jpg

8. http://www.staffordshirenewsletter.co.uk/stafford-co-op-stores-host-fairtrade-fortnight-with-free-chocolate/story-30108874-detail/story.html

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