Trading still fair for market town

This Is Wiltshire: Laura May from Bloomfields Fine Food in Highworth with some of the Fairtrade items the shop sells Laura May from Bloomfields Fine Food in Highworth with some of the Fairtrade items the shop sells

AS Fairtrade Fortnight begins, Highworth is marking its third year as a Fairtrade town.

Fairtrade Fortnight is a national event to raise awareness about the importance of paying farmers in developing countries a fair price for their goods.

The aim of the event is to prompt people to think about where the food that they eat comes from, and an interactive petition will call on the Government to act before the 2013 G8 summit taking place in Northern Ireland in June.

Brenda Hill, who works for The Bridge, which acts as a link between Highworth Community Church and the community, helped to set up Fairtrade in Highworth in 2010.

The town has a number of stores that promote Fairtrade, including Bloomfield’s Fine Foods, and it also helps to educate school children about the benefits of promoting Fairtrade and knowing where their food is sourced from.

To mark Fairtrade Fortnight in Highworth, there will be a cake festival at the council rooms on March 9, where all the cakes will be baked using Fairtrade products.

Brenda said: “We have the Highworth Action For Fairtrade in the town and we have been a Fairtrade town for three years. It’s obviously a good thing for the town.

“There are a certain number of businesses that have to fairly trade. We have to have school involvement and fill in forms to prove that Fairtrade is being adhered to in the town and the checks are all done by the Fairtrade Foundation.

“The biggest thing, the way ahead, is that the supermarkets find it easy to sell Fairtrade.

“We did two equivalent shopping baskets in the supermarket – one Fairtrade and one not – and the total costs were actually about the same; in some instances the Fairtrade products actually cost less.

“It has become more accessible because many larger companies have taken on Fairtrade. The biggest and easiest way to buy Fairtrade products is in the supermarkets.

“The Co-op is excellent and Sainsbury’s is very good.

“All the churches are fairly trading, we also get schools involved and businesses.

“When we started, we gave all the cafes in the town Fairtrade tea and coffee to sell to their customers. They all did it but didn’t all advertise.”

Fairtrade Fortnight is a combined effort to raise awareness of Fairtrade and encourage businesses and communities to carry the Fairtrade mark and urge people to buy these products.

Businesses are also doing their bit, with pop-up Fairtrade shops and new Fairtrade certified products. For example, every single KitKat two-finger biscuit sold in the UK will be Fairtrade certified.

The Fairtrade Foundation is a non-profit organization that has a vision to realise a world in which justice and sustainable development are at the centre of trade structures and practices.

Michael Gidney, chief executive of the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “Companies and governments need to make a stand to ensure small farmers can achieve sustainable livelihoods and play their full role in building fairer, better food systems for the future.

“Choosing Fairtrade is one way to help secure a better deal for millions of people in developing countries, so we want people to try a new Fairtrade product or create a work of art to ask for change.” To find out more about Fairtrade and the work it does, visit www.fairtrade.org.uk.

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