Monday the 21st of February marked the start of Fairtrade Fortnight, a two-week event designed to draw attention to where our food and drinks come from, and the inequality faced by many workers.
Despite farming being among the largest employers in the world, millions of workers on these farms struggle to feed themselves and their families. This is due to the amount they earn in comparison to the work they do. Often, farmers won’t receive a fair price for the food and items they produce, and there are few measures in place to ensure they have access to things such as labour, economic and civil rights.
The Fairtrade Foundation aims to correct this and create an environment in which trade benefits (such as earnings) are shared equally and justly, by means like providing farmers with additional payments and a “minimum safety net price” to help stability.
In these busy and uncertain times, it’s easy to not give much thought to exactly how the food we purchase comes to be. It’s a conscious effort, and one we all sometimes forget about. After the last two years it can seem daunting to keep something else in mind. While there are several ways to get involved with the Fairtrade Foundation, such as partaking in events, starting fundraisers and campaigns and giving donations, there are also smaller, but equally impactful, actions you can take to support the campaign:
- Buy Fairtrade products from your local supermarket. These products can be identified by the signature Fairtrade logo.
- Encourage your peers to also shop with Fairtrade in mind, and start a conversation about the foundation and its goals.
- If there is a lack of Fairtrade products at your local store, consider speaking to or writing an email to the manager requesting a change.
On top of these, there are less direct actions you can take if you’d like to gain a better understanding of the organisation and its aims. Fairtrade organisations have a large amount of resources (many of which are interactive) available across their platforms. For example, as Easter approaches a lot of us will be both buying and eating a good deal of chocolate (festive and otherwise). In fact, in 2015, 80 million Easter Eggs were sold in the UK alone!
While the majority of us enjoy chocolate, how much do we really know about where it comes from and how it ends up on our shelves? The Fairtrade Foundation has a quiz where you can test your knowledge!
Farming may be an industry, but it’s the individual workers that comprise it, and each of their stories is different and unique. The Fairtrade Foundation talks to several farmers about the challenges they face and how Fairtrade has impacted them.
For more ways to get involved and stay up-to-date with news, events and other ways to support Fairtrade, be sure to keep an eye out in social media, both our own SGO accounts and the official Fairtrade channels.
by Holly Steventon, SGO Project Officer
Featured image is a cocoa producer image from www.fairtrade.org.uk