by Martyn Dicker and Moses Rene
The lovely and inspiring Jolly family proved fantastic hosts for the end of Moses’ two week tour. The energy and effort that Charles demonstrates for fair trade was incredible, whether it be organising events, giving talks, baking Fairtrade cakes or selling Traidcraft products. The morning was spent at The Source coffee shop, a not-for-profit, community project owned and run by Buxton Church in the Peak. In addition to their already impressive stock of Fairtrade products on offer, a Traidcraft stool was generating interest. In excess of £100 was donated during Moses’ inspiring talk about banana farming and Fairtrade in the Windward Islands.
By Martyn and Moses (with Tom, Camilla, Amanda and Freya)
The beautiful Derbyshire backdrop provided a picturesque setting for Moses, AKA “banana man”, to describe the difference that Fairtrade has made for him and other farmers and workers of the Windward Islands. The meeting in Wirksworth of the sixth mayor that Moses has met on his two-week tour proved a fascinating education. The cavendish bananas that Moses grows were cultivated only a few miles away at Chatsworth House.
The penultimate day of Moses tour provided the opportunity to talk to very attentive year 7 and year 8 pupils, sixth-formers and teachers at Wirksworth school, Derbyshire. The two separate classes must have had close to one hundred questions they wanted to ask Moses about banana production, life in the Windwards and of course the difference Fairtrade has made for him and other producers.
We stepped off the ferry to be met by an impressive sign - Proud to be a Fairtrade Island…
Busy day with schools - this school had really impressive bunting strung out across the front of the school building - you can see it if you look closely…they needed a cherry picker to get it up there…
By Jenny Harper, Fairtrade Foundation
On Tuesday morning we visited Bedford School to present as part of their Citizenship Community morning. Tookie presented twice, first to a group of sixth formers and then a longer session for 11-13 year olds. The sixth formers had been teaching the younger students about Fairtrade that morning, so they all had some good questions to ask Tookie, including one student who asked if he could have a banana!
By Masauko Khembo, Kasinthula Cane Growers
In the 19th Century the Scottish, through one of their greatest sons [Dr David Livingston] said commerce was one of the things that would give hope to Africa. The 21st Century Scotland says only if that commerce is done fairly. I’ve met so many people today which shows their passion for Fairtrade.
By Moses Rene, on the road in Nottinghamshire
Tuesday morning was the earliest start of the tour so far - an 8:30 interview on BBC Radio Nottinham’s Breakfast Show. Normally back home my day starts from 7am which says that I’m an early riser.
The presenter questioned me concerning Fairtrade, and whether it really works. My response? Surely it is making a difference, because probably without Fairtrade there might not be a banana industry in the Windward Islands.
Bruce Crowther was really honoured to welcome Massatoma, the first Fairtrade producer representative to visit the FIG Tree, the world’s Fair Trade Visitor Centre in Garstang.
Massatoma met a producer from Ghana called Jennifer Wetkama who offered him a pack of the coffee she grows. He then had a guided tour of Garstang, the first Fairtrade Town in the world, where he was really impressed with all the shops supporting Fairtrade, many Fairtrade steps were spotted in the shop windows!
Over 200 primary and secondary school children came to Penwortham Girls High School to be inspired by Koolskools and Massatoma’s stories.
One of the schools was already using Fairtrade cotton uniform but after hearing the presentations many more were inspired to follow their example. Massatoma had the tough job to judge a t-shirt competition, all of the entries were amazing, but the winner particularly touched him as it had the slogan ‘trade not aid’ which is exactly what the producers he works with are asking for. Massatoma also had the pleasure to meet the Mayor and Mayoress of South Ribble.
When becoming a Fairtrade Town, Luton involved as many faith groups as possible.
The campaign has engaged all sectors of the community with Fairtrade and this became evident to us through out the day, as we spent Sunday travelling between two churches, a Sikh Gurdwara and a Mosque.
Sunday morning started at Beech Hill Methodist Church service. The service was centred around the need to make trade fair, and how this effects all communities. Tookie spoke at the service about the impact Fairtrade has had which was well recieved. We were briefly whisked away by Johny to visit a Sikh Gurdwara. Even though lunch was already planned for later on, we couldn’t resist trying some traditional South West Indian food at the temple.
We continued on to the Holy Ghost Church for our second lunch and next event. The Luton South MP Gavin Shuker joined us for lunch and spoke of the importance of Fairtrade in Luton. We had a really interesting afternoon, where Tookie spoke to the audience, followed by a Q&A and general discussions on Fairtrade. We were asked about the quality difference in Fairtrade products, which Tookie answered by saying that ‘Fairtrade products have a little bit of humanity in them, so when you buy anything with the FAIRTRADE Mark on, you are also buying a little bit of humanity’, which recieved a nice round a applause. We were also given some new recipes on how to cook green bananas!We were then driven down the road to the Central Mosque, for an informal visit and tour round.
The Luton steering group took us out for dinner to a Bangladeshi restaurant in the evening. It was a fascinating day and really interestng for us to see the Fairtrade campaign from so many angles, and just how deeply rooted Fairtrade is in Luton.
On Monday morning, we visited Potton Lower School to talk at their morning assembly. Tookie perfectly described Fairtrade to the pupils as:
“‘when you see the FAIRTRADE Mark on a product, we are looking at two things; the fair price that is being paid and and the social premium that can be spent on community initiatives. This is what I see as an organisation with a heart”
After showing the children the correct way to eat a banana (again!), we then made out way to Edward Peake School in Biggleswade for two assemblies.There are many examples of what the the Fairtrade Premium has been spent on in St Vincents, but Tookie concentrated on talking about the introduction of first aid training, a school bus and a pension fund. Tookie spoke of the impact of these examples which seemed to resonate with the staff as well as the pupils. Both assemblies were really succesful, with some interesting questions asked at the end.
Through these we found out that:
• the longest bananas grow to 12 inches, but that the smaller ones are sweeter
• that there are no wild animals in St Vincent that like green bananas
• that we buy clusters of bananas, not bunches, each with 20-30 fingers (bananas)
Tookie appealed to the audience to continue buy Fairtrade if you don’t already, and if you do to continue to buy more and talk about it to your family and friends.
In the evening we visited a Hindu Temple, which was declared as the first Fairtrade Hindu Temple in 2009. We spoke to several people there about what the group has been doing to continue to support Fairtrade and how it can continue to buy Fairtrade products locally if they are not readily available.
We have had an excellent 2 days in and around Luton. Tookie has attended an excellent variety of events, and has really appealed to people hearts about why they should continue to buy Fairtrade. We look forward to continuing our journey tomorrow!
One week into Fairtrade Fortnight and we have already visited Manchester, Rochdale, and travelled across Scotland, before flying to Wales. We’ve chosen just one of the amazing days we’ve had, Wednesday 29th February to share with you.
The first week of Fairtrade Fortnight has been a whirlwind of events, meals, and photographs, not to mentions planes and trains! So far we have visited Manchester and its surrounding region, Northern Ireland and Wales. Next week we’re heading south, onto London and finally back to Wales where we’ll end our tour.
Many of our stops have included schools and for Demetrio, a supervisor at the COOBANA banana co-operative in Panama, “it’s so important to talk to children about Fairtrade as they are the future of our society. Children are open to the Fairtrade message, and have the creativity to help the Fairtrade movement to grow. It’s like sowing a seed that will bare fruit later on”. We even took part in a video conference with schools around the country, about which Demetrio remarked “the children understood the inequality in the chain”. The curiosity of the children at Brownhills Co-operative Academy, made Demetrio feel that “it was like talking to my family”.
He remarked that co-operatives are leading the way in spreading the Fairtrade message and addressing the issue of poverty in local communities. “Being a Fairtrade co-operative has given the opportunity to many of our people who have few resources, to fight world poverty together with our customers.”
Follow Demetrio’s tour and find out more about why co-operatives and Fairtrade are a perfect blend on www.co-operative.coop/2012/Fairtrade