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FAIRTRADE FORTNIGHT 2012
We had a full Fairtrade Fortnight 2012 with a wonderful range of events, beginning with Paul Chandler's lecture on Fairtrade and Christian Attitudes to the Market (watch the film here).
On Monday 5th March, we welcomed Divine Chocolate, Hotel Chocolat and Ubuntu Chocolate for a delicious and educational evening of ethical chocolate tasting. Of course, Divine is the only one of these three to be Fairtrade certified but Hotel Chocolat and Ubuntu have close relationships with their growers and all three shared their philosophies and producer stories generously, as well as their products. We learnt how to taste professionally, tried a fairlytraded 'chocktail' (picture below) and enjoyed flavours from fennel to lime.
On Thursday 8th March, Eversheds. in association with Elior, kindly hosted afternoon tea for 3 visitors from Malawi, Rosemary Kadzitche and Judith Harry, 2 nutfarmers from Mchinji district, and Kingsley Makiyoni of NASFAM. They supply peanuts and cashew nuts to the Fairtrade company Liberation! established (like Divine and Cafe Direct) by Twin Trading. Liberation! is 42% owned by 11 nut co-operatives such as Rosemary and Judith's, and also markets Harry's Nuts too. Rosemary and Judith taught us how peanuts are grown, harvested, stored and sold, and told us that Fairtrade and Liberation! had transformed their lives. Previously, they had only been able to sell to local middlemen; now, they are guaranteed a minimum price and demand is growing. They urged is to keep buying, saying: 'Thank you, it really helps.'
Rosemary and Judith particularly welcomed the Fairtrade premium too. Rosemary's co-operative had decided to use it to build a shelter outside the local maternity hospital. Pregnant women came from miles around to this hospital to give birth and many had had to sleep outside whilst waiting their turn as the hospital was usually full. Now they had a safe place to stay until they were delivered. Judith's co-operative had built a store with their social premium to keep harvested nuts dry and rot-free. The store also doubled as a school, microfinance centre and meeting place for women's and orphans' support groups.
We ended the fortnight with 2 events to celebrate the Diocese of London achieving Fairtrade status, a long-awaited and very welcome achievement! On Friday 9th March, the Bishop of London, clergy and passing tourists made Fairtrade smoothies by pedal-power on Fairtrade smoothie-making bikes outside St Paul's Cathedral. On Sunday 11th March, a service at St Paul's complete with steel band and banana song commemorated the occasion, with Harriet Lamb, CEO of the Fairtrade Foundation, presenting the Bishop with the Diocese's Certificate.