On Sunday 25th February, Oasis Coffee House, 189 Leigh Road, Leigh-on-Sea hosted a Fairtrade event at the start of Fairtrade Fortnight, which attended by a full house.
Sarah Brazier from the Fairtrade Foundation came to give a talk about Fairtrade and the difference it makes for farming communities who produce our food in the global south. Without Fairtrade, farmers from the global south, who produce the food that we buy from supermarkets, are often those that do not earn enough to feed their own families.
Sarah gave the example of the Coobana Cooperative in Panama, who for many years struggled producing bananas and getting a fair price for their crop. Now they are Fairtrade certified it has made a huge difference to their economic security in the global market, and to their community with improved housing for farmers, children able to afford to attend school and college, and improved working conditions and increased productivity for banana farmers in the cooperative.
“It is our choices on what to buy when shopping that make a very real difference to people like you and I all around the world. We urge people to choose products with the Fairtrade mark and to ask shops to stock Fairtrade products, where they are not apparent – the consumers power really is king in making the difference.” said Gina Cox member of Leigh Road Baptist Church and Southend-on-Sea Fairtrade Network who organised the event.
Fairtrade is good news for farmers and artisans, however it relies on demand from consumers in the West to make it a continuing success. Only one third of bananas sold in the UK is Fairtrade.
The Coop Food has always been a pioneer of Fairtrade products and were the first supermarket in the UK to have 100% Fairtrade bananas in their stores. Darrell Binding is the Coop Member Pioneer, Leigh-on-Sea and he gave a short talk on the evening about Coop and his role in the community.
The local Leigh Road Coop Food store also supplied the evening with a great display of their Fairtrade goods including Fairtrade Easter eggs, flowers, wine and cotton wool, as well as tea, coffee, chocolate and sugar. Thanks also to Divine Chocolate, Tropical Wholefoods and Esquires coffee shops who sent us Fairtrade freebies for people to try during the evening.
A Fairtrade hamper was also won in a free prize draw, and those attending were also were given a Fairtrade picture quiz to identify various food crops such as cocoa and sugar cane in their raw form. Many thanks to all those who braved the cold weather to attend the Fairtrade event, and please continue to look for the Fairtrade mark when you next shop.