Celebrating Fairtrade in our communities

Fairtrade Fortnight 2021 has just come to a close, after two weeks of online events, talks, promotions, and competitions all aimed at sharing the stories of the people who grow some of our favourite foods.

If you missed it, you can still access all the Choose the World you Want Festival content through the Festival website here.

Fairtrade Fortnight 2021 marked the start of a new climate campaign asking the British public toget behind Fairtrade so that farmers overseas can benefit from fairer prices, fairer trading practices, and the resources needed for tackling the climate emergency in climate vulnerable countries such as Kenya and Honduras.

As global trade changes in ways we could not have imagined a year ago, poverty will continue to be a key contributor to further environmental degradation and the inability for farmers to adapt to environmental shocks. The farmers growing our food and materials need empowerment, fair value, fair prices, and fairer trading practices to resource the investment needed for mitigation, adaptation, diversification and resilience in the face of the climate crisis.

Bexhill Mayor Lynn Langlands is passionate about the difference Fairtrade can make, saying that:

 ‘Farmers and workers in agricultural communities in countries such as the Dominican Republic and Ethiopia have contributed the least to climate crisis – yet they are among the world’s most vulnerable and are already feeling the worst effects from unpredictable weather to natural disasters and disease. But without stable incomes, these farmers lack the ability to fight climate change impacts and continue to struggle to meet their immediate needs.

‘Poverty and environmental damage in our food supply chains will not end until exploited farmers are paid fairly and given the power to make their own choices. Only then will they have the power to effectively fight the impacts of the climate crisis.’

Each year, communities nationwide play a key role in promoting Fairtrade Fortnight through their own campaigns, events and materials, in order to help raise awareness of the link between trade and poverty.

Rother District Council has supported Fairtrade since 2006, and both Bexhil and Rye are Fairtrade Towns. This year, Mayor Langlands made a video to celebrate the start of Fairtrade Fortnight, and to help highlight the ways we can help to support Fairtrade across the District by buying Fairtrade products from local businesses. You can watch it here.

Fairtrade is committed to fighting the climate crisis. Fairtrade Standards encourage producers to protect the environment by improving soil, planting trees, conserving water and avoiding pesticides, while Fairtrade’s programmes include climate academies for farmers to share best practice. At the same time, Fairtrade makes training available to producers so that they can use the latest agricultural methods, such as intercropping and shade-grown coffee to adapt to conditions.

If you have any questions about the issues raised in this article, please get in touch at Environment.Strategy@rother.gov.uk.

Published: 11th March 2021