St James's Church, Hampton Hill

What a difference fair trade makes - 2014 October

What a difference fair trade makes

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The Fairtrade Mark has been appearing on products for 20 years and sales are increasing as more of us call for fairer deals for producers. Ann Peterken reports on our continuing contribution.

Promotion of fair trade products is embedded in the life of the parish, both in what we use and what we sell at our monthly Traidcraft stall. Traidcraft was one of the pioneering fair trade companies, established 35 years ago in 1979, as a Christian response to poverty. Their food and craft products can be bought online and in certain shops, including Oxfam, but their network of voluntary fair traders remains of vital importance — selling Traidcraft products in churches, schools and places of work. Since 1994 the Fairtrade Mark has been visible on food products and customer power has ensured that supermarkets stock a growing number of them. Our buying choices really do make a difference.

Traidcraft Roadshows

When Traidcraft launches a new catalogue (twice a year) members of staff travel the country to meet the fair traders who sell their products. Catherine Gash and I always try to attend the London events to learn from the presentations, meet visiting producers, and look at the craft products. It is always a joy to meet other fair traders and you are most welcome to come along with us. Traidcraft staff are very friendly and convey a big thank you on behalf of themselves and their producers. At the August Roadshow they showed the lovely smiling faces of the producers seen above, which we now share with you as a big THANK YOU for buying from our stall.

Honey and coffee from Guatemala

Many of us buy and enjoy ‘runny honey’ and coffee from a small cooperative called CIPAC in Guatemala’s hilly north west. Traidcraft has been buying their honey for many years, and coffee for the past three years following a diversification project to increase the resilience of cooperative members.

Zenen Santana-Delgado, Traidcraft’s Supplier and Producer Co-ordinator, says regular visits to suppliers are an essential aspect of their relationship. Since my first visit to CIPAC in 2008, I’ve seen the cooperative grow stronger and the positive impact Traidcraft’s trading has had on members, their families and communities. Back then I met Abraham Ramirez, a shy young man with a few beehives, but I distinctly remember the determination and perseverance in his words. I was delighted to meet him again and discover he now has more than 200 beehives. With part of the money from honey income, he’s been able to buy a small coffee plot and although he’s still shy, he has really grown and is optimistic about his future. Abraham explained, ‘With the support of the cooperative and fair trade, my life has changed and I am able to provide for my family; including the education of my children. My thanks goes to Traidcraft and the supporters who buy our coffee. Without them, this would not have been possible.'

A world-first from Ghana

For the past year we’ve been selling the Clean & Fair range — the world’s first Fairtrade-marked household cleaning products — using FairPalm oil farmed and processed around the town of Asoum in the eastern region of Ghana. The cover of this magazine shows a basket of palm fruits on their way for processing — they come from trees on family farms, not huge plantations, and allow smallholders to diversify their marketable produce. In the summer Safianu Moro from Serendipalm (Traidcraft’s producer) visited the UK and delighted supporters with his knowledge and cheerful personality. He has worked at Serendipalm for four years after completing degree level studies in agriculture.

It was a privilege for Catherine and me to hear him say that he loved his work and how he saw it having such a positive impact on people’s lives. Safianu mentioned a Motorised Boat Project, financed by the fair trade premium. The project benefits all members of the community by reducing the number of deaths on the river. Please try to make at least one of the Clean & Fair products — handwash, washing-up liquid, laundry liquid, multi-surface cleaner and bars of soap — part of your regular shop at our stall.

Help for West Bank producers

Recent tragic events in the Middle East mean fewer people are travelling there, with the knock-on reduction in the local economy. Difficult lives become even harder, so your support of products from Zaytoun is more important than ever. The Autumn catalogue includes two lovely wooden products from Holy Land Handicrafts – an olive wood nativity set and olive wood hand held crosses.

Traidcraft stall in the coming months

Please borrow a copy of the catalogue from church and consider some of the lovely products for gifts to family and friends. You can also be a great help by spreading the word about our monthly stalls — the next two are on 2 November and 7 December (10.45-11.30am) with food and craft items, so please come and look. We also plan to have a full display in church from 22-23 November and will confirm the dates and times on our website, so do check for updates.

Source: Ann Peterken, The Spire Magazine - 2014 October

St James's Church
The Parish Church of St James, Hampton Hill, TW12 1DQ
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