Thursday, 19 December 2013

Going Bananas for Fairtrade Fortnight

While most people are thinking about Christmas, the Fairtrade group are starting to plan ahead for Fairtrade Fortnight, in February. This year's theme is bananas, and they are considering a market stall with banana cake, a tea tasting (because it doesn't have to be all about bananas) and doing something involving banana-y songs with Hay School ('Yes, we have no Bananas' is an oldy but goodie!)

Support Fairtrade - 'ave a banana!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Cake Raffle

I've just heard that the raffle for that wonderful cake has already raised £71, and the cake will be in the window of Oxfam for the next week if anyone else wants to buy tickets for the draw!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

The Day of the Fair

It's been a fairly mild day, compared to some of the other years of bitter cold for the Fairtrade Christmas Fair. A lady from Shared Interest, which provides small loans for Fairtrade businesses, had come along, because the Hay Fairtrade group keep raising money to invest with them!
Victoria Baker, a new recruit to the Fairtrade group, baked this marvellous cake which was being raffled to raise funds for exactly that purpose - when I saw it, they were about to try to persuade Derek from the Wholefood Shop to display it for a week, to sell more tickets:

Love Zimbabwe were there, and Zimele, who have been before. Chris Armstrong was manning the Hay2Timbuktu stall with the silver Tuareg jewellery, and Christina was selling Egyptian patchwork and small prints of icons she has written for St Mary's Church (where the originals can be seen). Although they are pictures, icons are always 'written', traditionally, rather than 'painted'.
Tools for Self Reliance were selling hand tools made in Tanzania - and the Tanzanian blacksmiths also sent this over to show off their skills:

It's a traditional spear, and I was very tempted by it. However, for historical re-enactment blades have to be blunted, and this was quite sharp.
The next stall along, though, was a newcomer to the Christmas Fair, Wild Canvas, and they were selling knives and cleavers and scissors which are perfect for re-enactment! I treated myself to a medieval style vegetable knife with a metal curved handle and a pair of snips. They are made in North Vietnam. The other part of the Wild Canvas business is tent making for wild camping, and they were also selling canvas bags.
Later on in the day, choral singing was coming from the Buttermarket where the fair was being held - I think it was the St Mary's church choir (Christina is a member).

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Christmas Fair

The 7th December isn't far off now. The Sixth Fairtrade Hay Christmas Fair will be in the Buttermarket as usual, and there is one stall left for a Fairtrade trader or local producer. The cost is £35 for an 8 x 4 foot space, including table.

The next Fairtrade Hay meeting, to discuss final planning for the fair, will be on Monday 18th November at the Swan at 8pm. It's also going to be the last meeting for Jackie, who has designed every single poster for the Christmas Fairs since they started!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Stand Up for Timbuktu

I've just come back from the Globe Gallery, where there's an all day event going on to celebrate the links between Hay-on-Wye and Timbuktu.
In the morning, there was a workshop put on by the Hay Theatre Group, leading up to an actual performance in the afternoon, and during the day there are stalls in the main hall. There's a strong Fairtrade presence there, with Tools For Self Reliance, Anacuna who sell plant dyed wool and woven rugs from Chile, Hay2Timbuktu with the Tuareg silverwork and leather boxes, Zimele with their crafts, and Love Zimbabwe, all of whom have been at the Hay Fairtrade Christmas Fair at one time or another.
The weather has been blustery and wet, so few people were making their way up to that end of town, which was a pity, because there's a lot of good quality stuff there. However, there will be another opportunity to buy from some of them at the Fairtrade Christmas Fair this December.
I met Martha from Love Zimbabwe. She's just back from a visit to the Czech Republic, where she's been talking about Fairtrade (and visiting a swimming pool and sauna - to find that Czech people take everything off when they go swimming!). Next Tuesday she will be at the House of Lords, to talk there about her Fairtrade work.

Later this evening there will be comedians in the Lower Gallery, followed by music from Sheelanagig and finally DJ Aubrey Fry.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

News Update

A warm welcome to Victoria and Joanna, who were manning the Fairtrade stall along with Jo Eliot for the Timbuktu welcome party in the Castle.

The stall at the Castle raised about £140 for group funds, including about £20 from the sale of Egyptian goods from Zabaleen - who also made the new Fairtrade Hay banner!
About £70 was raised from the events at the Buttermarket in August, too.

Hay Together are going to be asked if they would like to display the banner at their offices in the Castle, and it would also be available for use at the church or the library. As Eighteen Rabbit is a shop selling exclusively Fairtrade goods, it might also be displayed there.

Jo has recently been to the Fairtrade supporters conference, and brings back the news that the theme of next year's Fairtrade Fortnight will be bananas.
Louise and Chris are going to the Abergavenny Fairtrade Fair, and will be asking stallholders there if they want to be involved in the Hay Christmas Fair.

There will be a Fashion Show at the Masonic Hall on 30th November, at 7.30pm, in aid of Oxfam, and Jo Eliot will be the compere.

Planning for the Christmas Fair is in full swing, and the date this year will be 7th December.
Louise of Eighteen Rabbit is also organising a Green Fair next year, and Fairtrade Hay could take part in that - this would be in April if they can get the funding together.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

A Party for Timbuktu

The Fairtrade group were busy yesterday at Hay Castle, where a party was held to welcome visitors from our twin town of Timbuktu. They were serving teas and cakes to a packed hall.
Timbuktu has been through a very difficult time recently, with rebels taking the town and imposing strict Islamic law there, but things seem to be getting better now, with the delegation of teachers and midwives now able to travel to visit Wales.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Fair Trade Celebration Weekend in Brecon

Love Zimbabwe has been one of the stalls at the Hay Christmas Fairtrade Fairs - and some of the others the group has held throughout the years.
On Friday, Martha Musonza of Love Zimbabwe will be heard on Radio 2, talking to Jeremy Vine. Martha and her husband David have also been talking to Roy Noble for his Sunday breakfast show on BBC Radio Wales. This is all in the run up to the Wales Fair Trade Fair weekend which they are organising in Brecon on Saturday 4th October. It's the seventh event they've organised together - and that's only a small part of what they do to promote Fairtrade and to help the people of Zimbabwe. They've been to Seattle to give talks, and had a stall at Glastonbury, and will even be talking to members of the House of Lords in November, before they go back to Zimbabwe with solar panels and irrigation equipment for a community centre funded by the Welsh Assembly!
In Brecon, Martha is promising African dancing, live music and drumming, sheep racing and a children's African village, as well as around 30 stalls selling Fairtrade goods.

Meanwhile in Hay, the Fairtrade Group are starting to think about the Christmas Fair in the Buttermarket, and possibly a talk about Shared Interest. There is a lady in Brecon who is on the Shared Interest Council, and as the group invests money from events that it puts on in Shared Interest, it might be a good idea to publicise how that works and how the money is spent.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Planning More Events

There won't be a Fairtrade Picnic this year, but the Open Garden was a success again, and raised enough money (see below) for the group to invest another £250 with Shared Interest. Shared Interest are trying to reach a target of thirty three million pounds invested to celebrate their twenty fifth anniversary.
Next year the Tourism Group are planning a fashion show, and it might be possible to get involved with that - if so, another £250 of Fairtrade funds would go towards the organisation of the event. If the money is not needed for that, the money will go to Fairtrade Foundation funds. The WI are also planning a recycled fashion event, so it might be possible to join forces with them as well.
Fairtrade Hay has been offered a stand on the Buttermarket for the 31st August, so look out for us there! We are hoping that the stand can be set up beside the Jump4Timbuktu stall, so people who are involved in both organisations can look after both stalls (a good way of multi-tasking!).
We're also hoping to persuade Lisa Marie to let us have a regular Fairtrade column in WyeLocal, to talk about all the different shops that sell Fairtrade goods in Hay.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Good News from the Open Garden

The Open Garden at Brilley this year raised £200 from the teas - with special thanks to Louise, one of the helpers "who was clearly born to 'do teas'" according to Jo Eliot.
Fairtrade Hay will be meeting again soon to discuss events in the Buttermarket, the community picnic, Piece by Piece in September and the Christmas Fair.
It's all go!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Love Zimbabwe in Hereford

Love Zimbabwe have been coming to the Fairtrade Hay Fairs since the very beginning, and now they've got a spot at All Saints in Hereford. There's a very good post on Vanadian Avenue describing them and their work. The link is:
and the date of the post is 22nd April.

Saturday, 27 April 2013


Fairtrade isn't just tea and coffee - this Fairtrade alpaca yarn comes from Uraguay. It was seen at the Wonderwool exhibition at the Royal Welsh Showgrounds at Builth Wells this weekend. Even better, all the coffee stands were serving Fairtrade refreshments.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Year Ahead

There was a meeting at The Swan on Monday night, where the Fairtrade group planned for the year ahead.

But first, there was a bit of crowing!
YAY, US!!!!
The Fairtrade Wine Tasting that we organised for Fairtrade Fortnight was a resounding success! The only two criticisms we received were that the chaps from the Co-op, lovely though they were, were not wine experts, so could only really read out the tasting notes, and also it was sometimes hard to hear them (but that was possibly because everyone was having such a good time and chatting so loudly!)
We are looking into doing it again, possibly with Tanners, the wine merchants in Hereford, and fairly close to Christmas when people's minds will be on which wines they want to choose for the festivities.
We also managed to put another £200 into Shared Interest, which makes loans to Fairtrade businesses.

The group in Egypt which one of our committee is involved with have made some iPad bags and picture books for us to sell when we are doing stalls. They do a lot of patchwork with recycled cloth - the iPad bag is made from old ties. At the moment they are looking into the possibility of gaining Fairtrade accreditation for themselves, which would mean it would be possible for them to have loans from Shared Interest, and would make it easier for them to market their products (they do very good oven gloves - I have a pair). They have also been commissioned to make a Fairtrade banner for us.

On May 18th and 19th the Smallholders Fair will be held at the Royal Welsh Showground, and there will be a Fairtrade stand there, which may be staffed partly by members of Fairtrade Hay.

During Hay Festival, at the end of May, the Fairtrade notice board will be on display at Hay Church - in fact, it is there now, as a permanent feature, though it was in the Library for Fairtrade Fortnight.

On June 23rd, Jo Eliot and her husband Noel Kingsbury will be opening their garden again as part of the Open Gardens scheme. This was very successful last year (and they do have a very beautiful garden). There will also be teas and cake.

On 28th and 29th September there will be an event at Hayfield Community Gardens called Piece by Peace (or possibly that should be the other way round). The whole thing is based on the community pot firing sessions that happen in Timbuktu. People gather around kilns to fire their pots, share food and music and storytelling, and generally have a good time. Two Towns One World had the idea to do something similar in Hay, so there will be workshops ahead of time for people to go along and create a pot to be fired. They are even going to ask some of the authors who come to Hay Festival this year to get involved, and make a pot that can be auctioned for charity. The potters of Brook Street Pottery in Hay are involved in organising this - they actually have a kiln at the back of the shop, and if the door onto Chancery Lane is open, you can see it in use as you pass by.
They will be creating a song about Hay which will be sent to Timbutktu, and there will be a project with local schools looking at food from field to plate, showing children the seeds going into the ground, the flour being ground at Talgarth Mill locally, and the bread being baked in local baker Alex Gooch's ovens.
As part of the festivities, Fairtrade Hay will be running their Community Picnic, with co-operative games, an art walk, sticky sticks (make a model by pushing the sticks together), and face painting, so there will be masses of things to see and do.

We are even thinking ahead far enough to the next Christmas Fair - you have to book the Buttermarket this far in advance! This year it will be held on the 7th December.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Browsing the Web

While browsing through some blogs today, I came across Kindred of the Quiet Way. In her post on 23rd January, she writes a very good piece about the Cambodian ear-rings she bought from Eighteen Rabbit (online, but their shop is up at the Castle).
This reminded me that I hadn't added them to the side bar of this blog yet, so that oversight has now been rectified, and their online shop is available to be looked at.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Our First Wine Tasting Evening

It probably won't be our last!

There was a limit of 40 tickets because of the space we had available - Tomatito's Tapas Bar had kindly allowed us to use their back room, which is on three different levels! We had three tables on the top level, the microphone and information on the middle level, and our fourth group down below where all the comfy sofas are.
The new Fairtrade notice board got its first official outing, with lots of information about Fairtrade and the Hay group. On Thursday, the board will be moving to the Library, and after Fairtrade Fortnight, it will have a permanent home in St Mary's Church, with occasional visits to the other two churches in the local group, Llanigon and Capel-y-Ffin.

Everyone we approached to help was very generous. The Co-op weren't able to send a wine expert (all the wines came from the Co-op Fairtrade range), but they did send two lovely chaps along with all the information about the various wines and where they had come from. The Co-op sources its Fairtrade wines from South Africa, Chile and Argentina.
We started off with some very fine fizz, and followed that with four white wines. Each table was giving scores to the wines, and the favourite was worked out at the end of each session. I was one of the four wine waitresses (each in our Fairtrade aprons) so I didn't pay any attention to which wines were chosen, as I was busy serving.

We're very keen on promoting local produce in Hay as well as Fairtrade, and for the break in the middle of the evening we were lucky enough to have Kate, a local artisan bread maker and Charlie from Neal's Yard Creamery in nearby Dorstone.
Kate had baked four different breads for the evening, all of which were delicious. She supplies local restaurants and cafes, and also has a stall on the Thursday market, in the Buttermarket. I really liked her walnut and raisin loaf - and I don't even like walnuts! There was also one baked with fennel which was very nice.
Charlie has been making fine cheeses, mostly from goats' milk, for seventeen years in Dorstone. Most of the cheese he makes goes to the London market, but he also supplies local restaurants and cafes. In fact, while the red wines were being tasted in the second half of the evening, he disappeared round to the main tapas bar with a cheeseboard full of samples, to chat to a couple who had come in for a meal. They have just taken over the pub in Almeley, in Herefordshire, and were interested in serving some of Charlie's cheeses after they overheard him talking about them for the wine tasters.

At the end of the evening, everyone who had been helping managed to get a taste of some of the wine that was left over, and some of the breads and cheeses, before working out who all the different wine glasses belonged to, and returning an extra table and chairs to St John's chapel across the road. The Pinot Grigot was particularly fine.

Everybody seemed to have a good time, and everybody who was involved said they'd be happy to do it again. We also made a profit on the evening which we will be putting into Shared Interest, which gives loans to Fairtrade producers.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

More Details of the Wine and Cheese Evening

Plans are really coming together for the Wine and Cheese Tasting evening for Fairtrade Fortnight. A wine buyer from the Co-operative will be coming to talk about the different wines, and the cheeses will be coming from Neal's Yard Creamery in Dorstone, with owner Charlie Westhead providing a Q&A session about the cheeses and cheesemaking. There will be ten different wines to try; red, white and sparkling, all Fairtrade, and four different cheeses. Any profits from the evening will be invested with Shared Interest, an ethical investment co-operative and the world's only 100% Fair Trade lender.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Fairtrade Wine and Cheese Evening

Tickets are now on sale at Eighteen Rabbit, up at Hay Castle, for the Fairtrade Fortnight Wine and Cheese Evening. Nine Fairtrade wines, a selection of local cheeses, with a short talk by the cheese maker and someone who knows about the wine, all at Tomatito's Tapas Bar, in the back room. Numbers are limited because of space, and tickets cost £10. The event starts at 7pm on the 26th February.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Fairtrade Christmas Fair

I'm a bit late with this one, but I only just thought to check out Hay TV to see what videos they are showing at the moment. There's a five minute video of the Fairtrade fair, with interviews with many of the stall holders, including Chris, who has taken the lion's share of organising the Fair up to now. Here's the link to the video (I can't manage workable links on this blog - I'm afraid it's a case of cut and paste):