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Sowing Seeds For Fairtrade

Fairtrade is one of the key global themes we focus on at fairandfunky – in our school workshops, in our online shop and at our events; as well as on a campaigner level so we leapt at the chance to meet with, and learn from, other Fairtrade campaigners at the Fairtrade Foundation Regional Conference in York last week.

 

Fairtrade Yorkshire - photo credit Holme Valley Fairtrade

Fairtrade Yorkshire – photo credit Holme Valley Fairtrade

Meeting people from around the Yorkshire region (the FIRST Fairtrade region in the UK!) is both inspiring and humbling. We are constantly impressed by the work going on to promote and celebrate Fairtrade by volunteers, businesses, churches, schools and Fairtrade groups. It is great to get together and share experiences. From individuals in Selby getting together to launch a new Fairtrade campaign, to Fair Connections in Liverpool, a new business developing brilliant educational resources for schools; there is a wealth of energy, commitment and enthusiasm for Fairtrade.

 

Photo credit: Just Trading Scotland

Photo credit: Just Trading Scotland

And there needs to be. Farmers and producers across the world still struggle to put food on their own table at the end of a working day. Farmers in the developing world are affected every day by climate change, threatening their livelihoods and food security. The Fairtrade Foundation is gearing up to Fairtrade Fortnight 2016 with a focus on putting food on the table for both farmers and consumers. Watch out for a Fairtrade breakfast near you next year!

 

The Conference heard from Julian Sturdy MP, Rachael Maskell MP and Linda McAvan MEP who all advocated the opportunities the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer for Fairtrade to make bold solutions. And as David Cameron heads to New York on 25th September to sign these goals, YOU are being called by the latest Fairtrade Foundation campaign to ask him to align the government and adopt five recommendations for trade policy that works for the world’s poorest. Click here to add your voice to the “Show Your Hand” Campaign.

 

fairandfunky are committed to Fairtrade and to the belief that each individual action can have the power to change the world for farmers and their families. None more so than the Fairtrade date farmers in Tunisia we were introduced to by Barbara Crowther, the Director of Policy and Public Affairs at The Fairtrade Foundation*.

 

Photo credit: Barbara Crowther, Fairtrade Foundation.

Photo credit: Barbara Crowther, Fairtrade Foundation.

A small product even in Fairtrade terms, but date production in Tunisia by farming co-operatives is changing the world. These farmers live in the desert and are at the forefront of climate change, and the production of dates is critical for providing livelihoods. But, slowly and carefully they are building an oasis in the desert. Starting with planting date palms in small troughs, these have grown and stabilised the ground allowing planting of herbs, grasses, chillies and almonds. These smaller sub-plantations provide employment for lots of women. The water used to irrigate the date palms is put back into the desert and local diversity is returning. Small steps making a big difference, to the very local communities and to the global problem of climate change.

 

These Fairtrade date farmers are planting the seeds for a new way of working to Fairtrade. Working together to implement the SDGs is paramount, and Fairtrade is just one part of this bigger campaign. Fairtrade campaigners need to work together and connect with others to achieve success in the five areas of the SDGs: People, Planet, Peace, Prosperity, and Partnership.

 

We can highly recommend attending a Fairtrade Conference near you – to be inspired and challenged in equal measure! On Saturday 19th October we join The Fairtrade Foundation National Supporters Conference in London – why don’t you come too?

 

*For an in depth date with the Fairtrade Farmers in Tunisia please read Barbara Crowther’s blog in The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/fairtrade-partner-zone/2015/jun/01/small-scale-tunisian-farmers-grow-dates-in-the-desert

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