I have between customer time to pass, so I brought a load of stuff with me that I've been trying to get done over the last week or so. I picked up some literature at the Fairtrade Fortnight festival I attended at Chapter Arts on Friday, and I picked some up from the Cardiff Fairtrade shop "Fair Dos". I pride myself on being decently "in the know" about Fairtrade/organic/ethical stuff, but, reading through some of the Fairtrade paperwork, I realised that I had not really much of an idea about what the mark really means.
For instance, did you know that Wales has the first Fair Trade capital? Nope, neither did I!"Cardiff became the world's first Fairtrade Capital in March 2004, an award certified by the Fairtrade Foundation".
There are 107 cafes, restaurants and bars in Cardiff that serve Fairtrade items, and 29 establishments that sell Fairtrade stock, not including supermarkets. That's impressive.
"The organisation Fair Trade Cardiff www.cardiff.gov.uk/sustainabledevelopment is the partnership that worked towards this achievement (Fairtrade capital) and members include Cardiff Council, Cardiff Fair Trade Forum, Cafod, Christian Aid, Fair-Do's, Oxfam Cymru, People and Planet, The Co-operative Group and concerned individuals".
Then from the Little Book of Swap put out by Fairtrade Fortnight 2010 - The Big Swap http://www.thebigswap.org.uk/ ; came this information.
The first thing I read that I particularly like is this: "campaigning for a fairer world isn't just about placard waving and petition signing. It's also about using our wallets and purses to make a stand. Exciting isn't it? Knowing that each and every one of us has the power to change the world. Starting with just one swap."
"When you see the Fairtrade mark it means that:
- A minimum price has been paid to Fairtrade producers
- The Fairtrade Premium, an extra investment in developing communities and businesses has also been paid
- Producers always have a democratic say in decision-making - and that's all producers, women included
- Farm workers also get rights under Fairtrade like decent wages and being allowed to join unions
- The "Dirty Dozen" of chemicals are forbidden on certified Fairtrade farms protecting humans and the environment"
Now I don't know about you but I've always been kind of torn between buying organic and Fairtrade products. It's not always that you can get something that is both. But knowing that these 12 chemicals have not been used may just tip the balance."On top of the agreed Fairtrade price producers also recieve the Fairtrade Premium. How it's spent is voted on democratically by farmers or workers. This is development as decided by the people who will benefit from it".
We can also make our towns and villages "Fairtrade Towns" by visiting http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/get_involved/default.aspx. Up for that, anyone?
Bruce Crowther MBE was the first to convert his home town, Garstang, Lancashire, to a Fairtrade Town. Bruce says "Every time you buy a Fairtrade product you're not only helping 7 million farmers and their families, you're also sending the signal that you don't agree with the current system".
The powerful manifesto on the back of this little book of wonders reads this:
"Two billion people - a third of humanity - still survives on less than $2 a day. While unfair trade rules keep them in poverty, they face the global challenges of food shortages and climate change too. Conventional trade doesn't have them in mind. It can't guarantee them a decent price. And it won't provide them with a good honest living either. All of us can change this. Together. We can all make a difference. Every time we go shopping. JUST ONE LITTLE SWAP AT A TIME".