Fairtrade Fortnight 2003, kicked off yesterday with a special breakfast in London hosted by Fairtrade Foundation patron, George Alagiah. Among the guests were Fairtrade campaigners, food industry representatives, Fairtrade producers from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean - and TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Hugh is just one of many food writers getting behind the Fortnight, underlining the message that Fairtrade products don't just guarantee a better deal for Third World Producers - they taste great too. The Fortnight will see more than 4000 events nationwide, all designed to encourage shoppers to try fairtrade foods. Highlights will include a Fairtrade Pancake Race, starring newly enthroned Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and TV chef Michael Barry, a Fairtrade Breakfast hosted by London Mayor Ken Livingstone, and a Coffee Question Time with Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Patricia Hewitt and Nicaraguan coffee farmer Blanca Rosa Molina. Sales of Fairtrade foods have more than doubled over the past three years. The British now drink 1.7 million cups of Fairtrade tea, coffee and cocoa each day and eat 1.5 million Fairtrade bananas a week. "Rising sales figures show that the public not only trust the FAIRTRADE Mark but trust the taste too," says Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation. "Fairtrade growers want all us shoppers to know they are proud of their produce - and increasingly people are finding out just how delicious the foods are." For Fairtrade Fortnight, Christian Aid has produced a new action card, 'Buy into Trade Justice', in association with the Fairtrade Foundation, BAFTS and Traidcraft. Fairtrade buyers are asked to attach a FAIRTRADE mark from a wrapper to a postcard and send it to Tony Blair. The message is "I buy Fairtrade products because I want to see a fairer international trading system. Please play your part by doing all you can to rewrite the rules governing international trade so that they are specifically weighted in favour of the poorest." Order yours today on 020 7523 2225.
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