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Fairtrade Fortnight

Posted on Tuesday 4 February 2020

Hilary Jakeman

Fairtrade Fortnight is always at the end of February and the beginning of March, and this year it runs from 24 February to 8 March. Reading has been a Fairtrade Town since 2004, a status that has been renewed several times since then, and something of which we can be very proud. The main Fairtrade Town activities are concentrated in Fairtrade Fortnight and in the Reading International Festival (in October), but the aim is that we should never lose sight of our work towards trade justice. Traidcraft is one of many organisations that campaigns for trade justice. It was founded in 1979 by a group of Christians who realised that people with skills and abilities do not want handouts; they want to be able to use their gifts to provide for themselves and their families. Traidcraft deals direct with most of its producers so that it can be sure they are paid fully, fairly and on time. This means they can rely on an income and plan for the future. This often includes negotiating a regular market pitch, or committing to school fees. Groups of producers are paid a fair trade premium and are encouraged to spend it on something for the community, such as a health centre, or a van to transport produce to the local market more easily.

The big successes in the campaign for trade justice have been coffee, tea, sugar and chocolate. There are however many other items which are traded fairly - you will have seen fairtrade bananas in your local supermarket, with other fruit and veg, and fairtrade cotton is becoming increasingly available. It is worth a look at the Traidcraft catalogue to see their huge range of goods, especially the wonderful craft items. Or a visit to the World Shop on London Street in Reading will show you how many other products are available!

The challenge to us from Traidcraft is to change one item in our regular shopping from a non-fairtrade item to a fairtrade one.  At True Food we sell a number of fairly traded products including high cocoa content chocolate (see Diana’s recipes), Grumpy Mule coffee beans from Columbia, Clipper coffee and tea, Washing up gloves from Traidcraft, a number of spreads, Mais Flips peanut puffs, Tropical Wholefood bars and dried pineapple, Van Strien cookies and much more.

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