It's Fairtrade Fortnight! For those who don't know, Fair Trade is trade that gives producers a fair wage for their products. The fair trade premium that such products attract is invested into communities, often into environmental improvements or educational projects.
This morning I went along to the Edinburgh Fair Trade City Group Fair Trade Brunch at the Cafe Camino, a lovely venue just next door to Edinburgh's St James Centre shopping centre, so an ideal location to attract passers by in to the event!
Brunch offered a selection of pastries and snack bars, teas and coffee (all fair traded of course!) and the chance to browse stalls from some of Edinburgh's top fair trade retailers (including the One World Shop and Hadeel).
There were inspiring talks from women agricultural producers. Norma Gadea Paivas is a Nicaraguan coffee grower, who is a member of SOPPEXCCA (the Union of Agricultural Co-operatives). She spoke movingly and inspiringly about how her local co-operative enabled her family to leave their life tied to the large plantations where they had used to work. The co-operative holds training to empower women and the fairtrade premium that their coffee now attracts is invested into the community and has so far enabled them to establish projects including an environmental campaigning group and a women's health project.
Hanan Alsanah, is the director of Education and Community Building of the Bedouin Women's Organisation Al Sidreh. This organisation, named after a strong desert tree, is a rug making project in the village of Lakiyah. Hanan spoke movingly about the history of the Bedouin peoples in Israel and how the Al Sidreh project is empowering women to develop economically and personally and to empower their own daughters in turn. Hanan will be speaking again tonight at 7.30 at Hadeel, Shandwick Place, Edinburgh. I won't be able to go to that event, but it promises to be inspiring!
The theme for this years Fair Trade Fortnight is to Take a Step for Fairtrade, for example by buying a fairtrade product you've never tried before (mine are fairtrade oranges which are the most delicious oranges I've tasted (I'd almost given up on finding really tasty oranges too!) and smoked almonds from Hadeel, which may well be addictive they're so good). You can also hold an event to promote fair trade or even blog about fair trade! You can share your steps on the Fair Trade Fortnight website here.
Edinburgh is a fair trade city and Scotland is on track to become a fair trade nation by the end of this year!
I've shared some ideas for Fair Trade steps you can take at work over on my new blog here. Please feel free to add your own ideas in the comments section over there!
As ever, text in red contains hyperlinks, which will take you to other webpages where you can find out more.