Posts Tagged ‘fairtrade’

Cakes and campaigning at Fair Trade event

March 5th, 2014

Plate of Welsh cakesFair Trade Fortnight was launched in Witney by WAFTAG with cakes, campaigning and a choir. The Fair Trade event, held at the High Street Methodist Church on Saturday, proved very popular.

Local children’s choir Songscope opened proceedings with a selection of upbeat songs. There were stalls selling a range of Fairtrade goods and a cake stall groaning under the weight of home-made cakes. The most unusual feature was the smoothie bike, blending smoothies using pedal power!

The campaigning focus of the day was the problem of cheap bananas. Many supermarkets are using bananas as “loss leaders”, offering them below cost price as a way of attracting customers to buy other goods. The price war between supermarkets has seen the retail cost of bananas halve in recent years, while the actual cost of producing them has doubled. This means that many banana farmers are living in poverty. The Stick With Foncho campaign asks Vince Cable as Business Secretary to investigate the impact such low pricing is having on farmers’ lives. 50 people at Saturday’s event signed postcards asking Vince Cable to do just that.

The campaign also aims to raise awareness of the real costs of cheap bananas and encourage consumers to buy Fairtrade. (If you want to be sure of buying Fairtrade bananas, the best supermarkets are Waitrose, Sainsburys and the Co-op, since these three do not sell any non-Fairtrade bananas.)

The event made just under £300 for WAFTAG, which will be spent on Fairtrade projects. To get a flavour of the day, you can watch the video on Witney TV.

Fairtrade Fair

February 17th, 2014

On Saturday 1 March it’s time to celebrate all things Fairtrade, with an event organised by Witney Fairtrade Action Group (WAFTAG). Come to the High Street Methodist Church from 2pm to 4:30pm for Fairtrade smoothies (made with pedal power!), cream teas, a children’s choir and stalls selling an exciting selection of Fairtrade goods.

The event is part of Fairtrade Fortnight, which runs from 24th February to 9th March. The theme of this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight is bananas, which are currently sold so cheaply that the people who grow them are trapped in poverty. Colombian banana farmer Foncho will be coming to the UK to ask our government to investigate unfair supermarket pricing. Visit the website to find out more and sign a petition supporting Foncho.

Feel free to print the Fairtrade goes bananas poster and display it in your window!


Dedicated followers of Fairtrade

March 13th, 2013
Girl on catwalk with Fairtrade logo on dress

Photo credit: David Pearce

Gianni Versace eat your heart out! On Thursday 7th March we saw that there’s enough talent locally to rock the fashion world. Wendy from Witney Fairtrade Action Group (WAFTAG) introduced Witney’s first ever Fairtrade Fashion Show, the screen lifted to reveal a catwalk and we were off!

Over 150 people crammed into the auditorium at Abingdon and Witney College to see the students’ fashion creations, all made with Fairtrade materials. Students modelled their own and each other’s work. The theme of the show was “Protection” and we saw some seriously imaginative variations on that theme, from a military-inspired dress to an insect exoskeleton! My favourite was the chain-mail-inspired dress where the chain links were in the form of  leaves. Students of Art, Media, Make-up and Hair all worked together to create a knockout show.

Preparing for the event took months of hard work from WAFTAG and the college, but the result was well worth it.

We also got a reminder about why we were there: buying Fairtrade might mean a few more pence for an item at the checkout, but the difference is literally life-changing for the producers. The Fairtrade mark means that cotton producers don’t just get a fair price for their crop; they also get extra funds to plough back into their community. Before the show we saw a short film about a community in Mali, who have used their Fairtrade funding to build a maternity unit locally. Before the maternity centre was built, pregnant women had to walk miles to give birth at the nearest medical centre and would often suffer complications on the way.

Before the show’s finale we had the chance to enjoy refreshments (courtesy of the Co-op) and browse a range of Fairtrade stalls.

We rounded off the night with a personal message of support from Sir Steve Redgrave, an avid backer of Fairtrade who even has his own Fairtrade clothing line.

It is great that Fairtrade is so well recognised within Witney and that students from Abingdon and Witney College have been so creative in designing using Fairtrade cotton… The difference Fairtrade can create for schools, healthcare and employment is dramatic and truly life-changing. The small premium that we pay for Fairtrade goods in the UK converts to a huge difference in the lives of farmers in West Africa and India… Being involved with Fairtrade is something you should all be very proud of and please keep spreading the message.