Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Fair Trade: becoming a Fair Trade Community

A special speaker had asked me to arrange a meeting at the Church Hall this evening - John Anderson, formerly chair of Fairtrade Bradford - to talk on "Becoming a Fair Trade Community."

I circulate emails to people to tell them about the meeting. I come down early. Perhaps while here I can invite one or two of the other groups using the hall to contribute to the Rainforest Fund.

I discover that "Langcliffe Singers" who meet in the main room in the hall are to have a singer in their group to be filmed for Songs of Praise in November...

but more of that in my next blog. Our meeting takes place to the accompaniment of their magnificent singing in the background.


Producers of "Fairtrade" goods get a guaranteed price and a better deal. Often they get a good price because middle dealers are cut out.

Settle Methodist Church is not a Fair Trade Church.
The West Yorkshire Methodist District, of which Settle church is part would like to become a "Fairtrade District" - just as it is possible to become a "Fairtrade School" or other Fairtrade community..

So John has arranged to come and give a talk at our church hall this evening 14th October.

He explains that to become a Fairtrade District we would have to get half the churches in the District to be Fairtrade churches and also do some other things to promote Fairtrade- such as have an event in Fairtrade fortnight. All the churches in his circuit at Shipley are Fairtrade churches. But in the Settle and Bentham Circuit none of them are. He wonders why.

We have representatives from High Bentham and Settle. The High Bentham people tell us they are going to have a meeting about Fairtrade in Bentham, and does John have a video? He recommends the Fairtrade website.
We try samples of the Divine chocolate. The cocoa is grown in Ghana and a cooperative was set up for this, but the chocolate is made in Europe as it would melt in Ghana.. He explains that Anita Roddick had had shares in the company that made the chocolate. When she sold her firm the Body Shop, she gave the shares in Divine chocolate to the African Cooperative.

He explains how at Bradford they had been able to get funds from the Cooperative Society (the Coop) for some of their Fairtrade Activities, including producing a book showing where Fairtrade goods can be bought, and he recommends doing the same.

He starts commending "Shared Interest" - a scheme where you can invest money, which is then used to loan to small producers, and that had been useful for some Fairtrade cooperatives.
Then he finds that four out the five of us already have invested some money in this. (Now seen to be a better option than shares...).

He leaves us leaflets and samples. We put the box of coffee and tea samples in the kitchen next door with some of the leaflets, for kitchen users to take or try.

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