You can make a real difference… just by shopping
Picking Fairtrade items off of the shelves and putting them in your shopping basket is a practical way to tackle the problem of global poverty and injustice.
That’s the message from the Canterbury District Fairtrade Steering Group at the start of Fairtrade Fortnight which runs from 22 February to 7 March.
This year’s theme is the link between Fairtrade and action to tackle the climate crisis while preserving a sustainable environment.
Canterbury, Herne Bay, Whitstable and the villages form a Fairtrade District.
Cllr Rachel Carnac, Deputy Leader of Canterbury City Council and its representative on the Canterbury District Fairtrade Steering Group, said: “Look out for Fairtrade food and drink when you’re doing your next shop – tea, coffee, chocolate, sugar, bananas, wine and lots more too.
“They’re in all the big stores and lots of independents too. If you can’t see them, just ask and do your bit for a sustainable world.
“And this is why you should. Canterbury City Council has declared a climate emergency and committed to put sustainability and the environment at the heart of local planning.
“But the effects of climate change and environmental degradation are already being felt by those who are least responsible for them.
“The average carbon emissions from someone in the UK are 28 times bigger than those of a cocoa farmer in Sierra Leone.
“The changing climate is already affecting farmers in other parts of the world.
“If current trends continue, up to 50% of land used for growing coffee could be unusable by 2050.
“Rising temperatures may be good for vineyards in east Kent, but wine production could reduce by 40-50% in South Africa and Chile.
“Cocoa farmers in West Africa depend on the rainforest to clean the air, cool the climate, nourish the soil, and protect their communities from flood and drought.
“But the rainforests and their rich diversity are at risk from logging.
“Eco-friendly Fairtrade standards support the farmers to protect the forests and Fairtrade producer networks provide them with technical expertise to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
“But to do this, they need the economic security which the Fairtrade system provides.
“It guarantees fair prices which enable them to make a living. It provides a Fairtrade Premium which the community can decide collectively how to spend to meet their needs, such as building a health clinic or improving the roads to get their goods to market.”
Supporters across the district usually organise events and activities in Fairtrade Fortnight. But this year’s events are all virtual.
You can follow the regular posts on the Canterbury Fairtrade Network’s Facebook page.
Among the special online events will be a discussion on March 4 at 6.30pm with Luke Underdown, founder of Garage Coffee, an independent coffee roaster based in Hoath with outlets in Canterbury and Whitstable.
Luke will be talking about the role of independent roasters setting their own fair trade standards. You can join the conversation by visiting our Facebook page.
If you are in Herne Bay, look out for the Clock Tower lit up in the Fairtrade colours of green and blue on 23 to 25 February.
Published: 22 February 2021