By: Barbara Kentish
Fairtrade Fortnight runs from Monday February 26th - Sunday, March 11th.
It is an astonishing achievement that 103 parishes in the Westminster Diocese have decided to sign up to Fairtrade - probably more than in any other diocese in England and Wales.
They have taken on all the requirements: firstly, serving Fairtrade tea and coffee, secondly promoting the concept, as well as other Fairtrade products, and thirdly, holding an event once a year. They have then received a certificate from the Fairtrade Foundation, usually via CAFOD.
While straightforward, these are not always easy things to do. The people who serve refreshments often receive unsolicited non-Fairtrade goods as donations. Or they themselves need convincing of the value of finding the Fairtrade brands (more information and persuasion are needed on both of these counts). Or someone has run a successful stall in the past and now finds that supermarkets sell Fairtrade goods more cheaply (so the parish could lobby the local supermarket for more Fairtrade products to be stocked).
But 103 parishes have found a way round these obstacles in order to show solidarity with producers and workers from developing countries, so that they are paid a fair price for their goods. Congratulations and thanks to all those involved, for making a commitment to the Fairtrade ideal.
With only five parishes to go (108 out of 214 are needed to qualify), Westminster could be a Fairtrade diocese, showing a model of trade justice that is much needed as all our trade negotiations come up for review in the Brexit process.
We can all get involved in promoting Fairtrade during Fairtrade Fortnight, February 26th to March 11th, by organising a 'Big Brew', with tea, coffee, cakes and biscuits, and sending a photo to the Justice and Peace office. The Fairtrade Foundation says: 'Fairtrade Fortnight aims to put a spotlight on trade. When trade is fair it has the potential to improve the lives of the farmers and workers who grow our food. When trade is fair, it can make the world a better place. Together we have that power, so get involved and be part of the difference. It's a shocking fact that millions of poor farmers who produce the food we love still don't earn enough to feed their own families. It's time for this injustice to end.'
In your parish, think of organising a teaparty or coffee morning, and help farmers achieve trade justice!
Get information and ideas from www.fairtrade.org.uk and send photos of your Fairtrade events to firstname.lastname@example.org .