Helen Mead summarizes what Fair Trade means to farmers and their families in the developing world where…
many workers face harsh living conditions, low pay and exploitation. They do not have access to even basic medical care or an education for themselves or their children.
The global Fair Trade movement helps to remedy this by providing a living income for some of the world’s poorest farmers and workers.
Fairtrade Fortnight, in the Bradford district puts this vital work in the spotlight from now until Sunday March 10. This year also marks 25 years of Fairtrade in the UK.
Bradford district has been a Fairtrade Zone since 2006, fulfilling a range of criteria to gain this status. This includes having a variety of Fairtrade products in the area’s shops and cafes, demonstrating the use of Fairtrade products in local workplaces and establishing a local Fairtrade steering group.
Stop in if you are in the area. Events this year include:
A Fairtrade stall in Baildon Co-op promoting Fairtrade in four local schools, a Fairtrade breakfast at Bradford Cathedral, a Fairtrade afternoon tea and chocolate tasting at St. John’s Church.
I will forever be grateful that I was introduced to the utility and beauty of hand crafted products early in life - from the symbolic motifs sewn into the coarse linen fabric of Croatian traditional wear to the colorful Kilim carpets that decorated the parquet floors in my grandmother's living room.
I treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," the smell of the flower stalls in the open air market where my grandmother bought produce early every morning for the day’s meals and the summers spent at my great grandmother's where the village wags would come to gossip over thick, black Turkish coffee in her cool stone kitchen.
Someone noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world - one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.