Fairtrade banana bonanza
To celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight 2023, members of York Fair Trade Forum gave away Fairtrade bananas in St Helen’s Square. Despite a sudden downturn in the weather, which meant the bananas were pedalled into the city during a snowstorm, all was not lost. Amazingly, bang on the stroke of noon when the giveaway was due to start, the snow stopped.
Although the conditions weren’t the best for having an outdoor chat, several passers-by did stop to learn more about fair trade. Lots of leaflets about York as a Fairtrade city, as well as free copies of the Forum’s booklet ‘Fair’s Fair’, were handed out. The five hardy volunteers distributed all the bananas to grateful snackers – though it was suggested that Fairtrade hot chocolate would have been more suitable given the temperature!
Although bananas are just one product of the many that are available under the Fairtrade banner (including coffee, tea, chocolate, cotton and jewellery), they are one of the most visible. Bananas are the most popular fruit in the UK: on average we eat 100 per year each. Buying Fairtrade bananas changes the lives of the farmers and workers . We’re paying a lot less now for bananas than we did 10 years ago, and that means it’s harder for the producers in countries like Colombia and the Dominican Republic to make a living. But the Fairtrade scheme means they get a guaranteed minimum price as well as an extra premium which they can spend to improve life for their communities, maybe by building schools or housing. They get better working rights and conditions, as well.
The forum is very grateful to Waitrose and Sainsbury’s who kindly donated the bananas. Both supermarket chains only stock Fairtrade bananas, and we’d urge other retailers to follow suit.
You can read articles about the event in York Press and Social Vision.
Wanted: your ideas for the year to come
This year (2022), our AGM will focus on generating ideas for activities across the coming year and beyond. As well as discussing potential events and speakers, we are keen to develop initiatives to attract more members from a wider range of backgrounds. The meeting is by Zoom, so even though our Forum is for York if you have ideas to share or just want to join in the discussion, you are welcome wherever you are based. It will be held between 6 – 8pm on Monday 17th October. If you would like the Zoom link, please contact us.
Fairtrade in a time of Covid: where are we now?
York Fair Trade Forum has got together with Shared Interest to bring this event to a device near you! Hear Immaculate Ochieno and Kodzo Korkortsi talk about their work with producers in East and West Africa and the struggle to continue promoting gender equality and fair trade during these challenging times. Find out more about this free lunchtime event (noon-1pm on Friday 5 March) and book your place here.
Last year, Shared Interest supported 363 fair trade organisations in 63 countries, using investments from people like you and me. If you want to know more about Shared Interest, click here.
Campaigners hand in KitKat petition
In October 2020, the month that KitKat’s Fairtrade certification officially ran out, a 283 854-signature petition against Nestlé’s action was handed in to their York factory where one billion KitKats are made each year. Nestlé’s replacement scheme will leave vulnerable cocoa famers without the Fairtrade premium and with less control over how they spend their money. Read the full story here.
Normal service is suspended, but how can we help?
The Covid-19 pandemic has devastated the world, and the world of fair trade is no exception. When the poorest people in the poorest countries are so vulnerable with their precarious health, water and sanitation systems, how can we best help? Read more here.
Fairtrade is 25 this year. Help us celebrate by sharing in one or more of the series of events we have planned in 2020. We’ve already had a great start with two very successful events for Fairtrade Fortnight (24 Feb – 8 March 2020) in York: a special panel event to share inspiring stories about the women behind our chocolate and a film showing in conjunction with South Bank Community Cinema preceded by a talk on Youth and Fairtrade.
Only £2 plus p&p
It features ten of the courageous and visionary champions who helped to develop ethical trading and provide the underpinnings of the fair trade movement we know today. It gives you a taste of the long history, in many different countries of the world, of those who have promoted and supported fair trade. Includes a totally free downloadable companion resource to use with children. See details here
Summer events 2019
This summer the group attended several community events around York.
First up, on Saturday 8 June, was York’s Pride celebration on the Knavesmire. The event ran from 12 noon till 6pm and despite adverse weather conditions, the Parade made a real splash and spirits were up. Our “pong” game was a hit with lots of fair trade and Fairtrade prizes won.
Then we were out in action on three consecutive Sundays. On 30 June we were in Holgate at the Westbank Park summer fair. On Sunday 7 July we took part in the York Unifying Multicultural Initiative (YUMI) Summer Fair on Millennium Fields in Fishergate and to complete the hat-trick we were in Woodthorpe at their Family Day on Sunday 14 July. We were in New Earswick on 3 August.
All our stalls feature our “pong” game where you can test your throwing skills and win Fairtrade goods, you can browse and buy a range of fair trade crafts supplied by All’s Fair and talk to our volunteers about how you can support fair trade in York.
Rachael Maskell MP and Mark Dawson the Chair of the National Campaigner Committee met Ivorian cocoa farmer Awa Traore at Westminster at the Parliamentary launch of Fairtrade Fortnight. Read the full story here.
Our Fairtrade Business Breakfast, which was so popular last year, returned to the Spurriergate Centre on Tuesday 5 March.
In addition to councillors, business people and representatives of churches, schools and local non-profit organisations we were delighted to be joined by the CEO of the Fairtrade Foundation, Mike Gidney.
The Spurriergate Centre also hosted a pop-up shop from All’s Fair Tuesday to Thursday 10 – 2.30 both weeks.
The second week saw a programme of tastings at Fairer World (84 Gillygate) celebrating the contribution of women farmers to the coffee, jam and chocolate we love to eat.
York, Fairtrade City: fifteen years and counting
2019 marks the 15th anniversary of York gaining Fairtrade City Status and our 15th birthday celebrations kicked off in style on Wednesday 13 March with our pot painting evening.
We were delighted to be joined by three York residents born in 2004 (the year we first gained Fairtrade City status)
Our new certificate has arrived – marking our 15th year as a Fairtrade City.
York Cocoa Works visit
The group visited the York Cocoa Works on Monday 21 January where Sophie Jewett, the Managing Director, told us about the farmers she works with across the world. Most of their cocoa is sourced in the area of South America where cocoa originated, with beans from Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, but she also works with farmers in the South Pacific including the Solomon Islands. Each bean gives the chocolate a distinctive taste and working direct with farmers allows them to get the best price for their crops as well as giving Sophie the highest quality chocolate.
The shop and cafe are open on Castlegate 8.30 – 6 and you can book chocolate making workshops to find a bit more about what goes into making your favourite treat.
There is nothing like a nice cup of tea… But have you ever thought about where your tea comes from?
Many popular British blends include tea from Assam in India, where the people who picked it – most of them women – are paid poverty wages and live in appalling conditions.
The ‘Big 6′ British tea brands – PG Tips, Twinings, Typhoo, Yorkshire Tea, Tetley and Clipper – are well aware about this but aren’t doing enough to challenge it.
We won’t let them get away with this anymore. Please add your voice by asking the brands: Who picked my tea?
To make your message more powerful, add a sentence on why this issue matters to you. Your email will go to all six brands’ customer service teams, but if you get a response from the brands, please let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about the campaign, visit: www.traidcraft.org.uk/tea-campaign.
World Fair Trade Day: Saturday 12 May
World fair Trade Day is a chance to celebrate the artisans and craftspeople who make the fair trade crafts, gifts, homewares and fashion we love. These goods aren’t crops so they can’t be Fairtrade but many come from workshops, factories and collcectives which are members of the World Fair Trade Organisation.
Shared Earth is a member of WFTO and you can buy their goods from their shop at 1 Minster Gates.
You can also buy goods from other WFTO members like Traidcraft from Fairer World on Gillygate.
With WFTO fair trade products we can live fair, one product at a time.
Congratulate fair trade stockists
Do you ever see Fairtrade/fair trade goods somewhere you didn’t expect and feel pleasantly surprised? Why not write to let them know you noticed and support their decision – if nobody comments on what they stock, they may start to think it’s fair trade provenance isn’t import and stock something else instead. So, whilst it’s always good to mention it when you’re there in person, an email or letter often gets to the person who makes the decisions and provides a more lasting token of thanks and support. You can see the Forum’s template letter here – we’re planning to send them to outlets along with a couple of our window stickers.
We have published a new book of inspiring stories stretching from the origins of fair trade to the present day
Details of our book, Fair’s Fair – Inspiring stories of Fair Trade champions from the 18th century to the present day, and information on how to purchase it, can be found here.
See the Forum’s Fairly Traded York trail guiding you round the beautiful and historic city centre and exploring its fair trade links here.
Interested in fair trade around the world? See this website to find out more about the World Fair Trade Organisation’s activity in Asia