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The Radclyffe School Change The World with Fairtrade

We are all connected. There is a person behind the products we use everyday – the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the things we buy. The consumer choices we make every day have an impact on people and planet.


At The Radclyffe School in Oldham, over 100 students took part in a fairandfunky Fairtrade Conference on 4th December, to consider their consumer choices, and be empowered to think about how each of us can take little steps to change the world. Workshops from leading practitioners challenged the students with thought provoking interactive activities, encouraging all to ask questions and consider our interconnectedness as a global community.


Trading Visions, an education charity based in London, lead a fascinating workshop all about chocolate; amplifying the voices of small-scale producers in the supply chain and stressing the importance of Fairtrade to cocoa farmers.


Students discovered the journey of chocolate from bean to bar and were brought closer to the people behind the product.


Pockets Theatre, a Leeds based community theatre company, took students on a journey to Colombia to find out about banana farmers. Creating independent dramatic pieces the students were able to communicate their emotional response to issues around Fairtrade; really getting to grips with the notion of ‘fair’ and ‘un-fair’ trading practices.


With fairandfunky, the notion of the power of the consumer was the focus, with students making their own wallet from a recycled juice carton so that when they go shopping, they can use their wallet and think about the people behind the products as they shop. Each participant placed a Fairtrade sticker inside each wallet. When you see the Fairtrade mark you are reminded to think about the people behind the product and shop ethically.


Suma Wholefoods are a co-operative business committed to sourcing the most delicious and sustainable products, inspiring change for good. As a worker-owned, equal pay co-op, they do things differently and lead a brilliant session with the students demonstrating that there is an alternative way to do business. Working together you can make real change.


Throughout the conference students took time to consider what the Fairtrade mark represents – why is it blue, black and green? To fairandfunky, the green represents the land where our food is grown and our products are made; the blue represents the sea and the sky by which our products travel to us; and the black is a person, the producer behind the product. The Fairtrade Mark shows we are all connected and reminds us to think about the people who make our products and grow our food.


Mike Gidney, CEO from The Fairtrade Foundation, delivered an inspirational keynote speech to close the conference. He shared stories direct from producers in Ghana whose communities had been transformed thanks to Fairtrade: farmers trained in dynamic agriculture can combat climate change and bring about improved incomes, and new solar-powered water filters, funded from Fairtrade banana premiums, brings drinkable water to 3,000 people for the first time. Real evidence to show the valued difference buying Fairtrade makes to producer communities. It’s a very powerful message: Fairtrade matters.


Fairtrade guarantees a fair price is paid to farmers. It also pays an added premium to invest in community projects: to build new schools, improve water supplies, invest in school buses, training and education for farmers and their families and more. Buying a Fairtrade product means the lives of farmers and their communities can be improved and each of us has the power to do just that. Buy Fairtrade and change lives.


We are all connected. We hope that today’s conference has planted seeds in the minds of all those who attended; that all will continue to ask questions as to where our food is from, and where products are made, and make considered consumer choice as a result. Together we can take little steps to change the world.



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