Friday, 28 January 2011

Getting Ready for Fairtrade Fortnight

Two of us went up to the car park in the middle of town this morning to measure out where the Fairtrade Clothes Line is going to be hung over the market stalls of the Thursday Market during Fairtrade Fortnight. We did it with the knicker elastic that we are going to be using for the clothes line.
Then we went into Shepherd's for a Fairtrade coffee.
"We're not going to serve you until you tell us what you were doing up there!" said the girl behind the counter. Which was less interesting that any ideas she had about it!

Saturday, 15 January 2011


"There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness"
Mahatma Gandhi

I sent off for some organic, fairtrade cotton to make a banner for Fairtrade Fortnight - last night. It arrived this morning! It's also rather lovely cotton, so I highly recommend The quotation above came with the cotton.
The whole banner won't be made of FT cotton, sadly, as we can't afford it, but the rest of it is being recycled out of old sheets. The idea is a clothes line with the word "Fairtrade" spelled out across the items. So far I've cut out two giant Tshirts, two pairs of giant knickers, two pairs of shorts, two odd socks and an apron!
The banner will be flown across Hay Market during Fairtrade Fortnight, and we will have an information stand (and teas) nearby.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Fairtrade Meeting at the Swan

Although the Swan is officially closed for the next couple of weeks, they were happy for us to use the little room with the big table, just off the bar, and we were even able to get drinks when we went in.
The main topics of conversation were the new Directory that we have all be collecting pledges for (asking local businesses to commit to providing at least two FT products, and if they also provide local produce, all the better). There will be more businesses included this time, so fewer pictures, but we thought the best way to go would be one global picture, of cotton since that's the theme for this year, and one local picture, probably of the Tea Ladies from last FT Fortnight (though how we're going to explain why we've got all those men in drag, I'm not sure!)
As Fairtrade Fortnight will shortly be upon us, we were also planning events for it, including a bingo night at the school (takings to be split between FT Hay and the School), a giant clothes line across the market with an information stall and teas (again), and the launch of the new Directory. We will also be involving all six of the local FT primary schools in the production of a FT cookbook (we're anticipating a lot of recipes for banana bread!).

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Reasons to Buy Fairtrade

I realise I'm probably preaching to the converted by posting this here, but I've just come across the book "50 Reasons to Buy Fairtrade", and I'd like to share, one reason at a time.
Reason 1. Back a system that benefits the poor. The mainstream trading system is failing the poor. Fairtrade offers partnership in place of exploitation.
The poorest countries do not benefit from 'free' trade - while Western nations are making huge profits, African nations have a shrinking economy, at about 0.8% a year, even though many valuable raw materials come out of Africa.
Millions of small scale farmers have been driven to bankrupcy as a result of subsidised food from the West being 'dumped' in their countries, undercutting their prices.
Throughout the developing world people are working in poor countries for less than a dollar a day to make goods such as clothes and toys for the Western world. Often these goods carry prestigious brand names and sell for high prices. But wages for the people who make them are rock bottom and working conditions are often appalling.
Fair trade gives the poor who actually make the products a better deal.