Going bananas for Fairtrade Fortnight

A MEMBER of Scarborough’s Fairtrade action group has said she is concerned for a banana grower from the Windward Islands which was recently hit by a hurricane.

Diane Robinson, the chairman of the Borough of Scarborough Fairtrade Action Group, said that Nioka Abbott’s plantation and others on St Vincent had been devastated by the natural disaster.

She said: “I am worried for her because the devastation of the banana plantations was awful. It’s just uprooted everything and laid it to waste.

“There will be some support from the Fairtrade Foundation for replanting – if they weren’t part of the Fairtrade group that wouldn’t be available.”

Nioka spoke about the benefits of dealing with the foundation at Scarborough Library during last year’s Fairtrade Fortnight.

This year’s Fairtrade Fortnight is due to begin on Monday, February 28, and it will run until Sunday, March 13, with a number of events arranged across the Scarborough area.

Diane added that the national theme for this year was cotton. She said: “Trade between nations should be a ladder out of poverty for the poorest people. The dice is loaded against them – the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer.

“Fairtrade has a role to play to make sure the producers are getting a fair deal.”

Scarborough became a Fairtrade Borough in June 2008 and Fairtrade aims to pay better prices, provide decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.

Companies are required to pay sustainable prices, which must never fall lower than the market price, which addresses the injustices of conventional trade – which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers.

Chris Fairchild, a spokesman for the action group, said that they would officially launch a new Scarborough directory of Fairtrade outlets at the beginning of the fortnight.

He said: “A lot of the local events are church-based. I think it’s fair to say that a lot more people recognise the idea of Fairtrade.

“It used to be thought of as a niche thing but now Cadbury’s Dairy Milk is all Fairtrade. They’ve realised it’s something worth getting into – it’s not just a niche thing anymore.

“The Fairtrade mark guarantees that it’s been checked all the way back to source.”

The directory contains around 100 businesses – from large supermarkets to smaller independent traders as well as hotels, cafes and bed and breakfast accommodation – which either use or sell Fairtrade products.

And during the fortnight staff from Sainsbury’s supermarket, which has made a commitment to support the cause, will be visiting schools to highlight the importance of supporting Fairtrade to the youngsters.

As well as a learning session, pupils will also be trying to break a world record and colleagues from the store will help school children in the Show Off Your Bunting challenge.

The nationwide challenge is open to all schools, and will help highlight Sainsbury’s and Fairtrade’s support for cotton farmers in developing countries.

The schools will be using Fairtrade certified cotton bunting on which they can paint, draw or sew to show what Fairtrade means to them.

Once all triangles have been customised by pupils, the school will send the completed entries back to the Fairtrade Foundation and at the end of the fortnight the organisation will sew them all together in the hope that it is a record breaker.

Fairtrade Fortnight 2011 Events:

l Friday, February 25, 10am to 1pm: Fairtrade Stall at St Mary’s Church Hall in Cloughton as part of a market event

l Saturday, February 26, to Wednesday, March 2: Fairtrade Stall at Burniston Methodist Church

l Saturday, February 26, 10.30am to noon: Fairtrade ‘Big Brew’ Coffee Morning at Seamer Methodist Church

l Tuesday, March 1, 10am to noon: Fairtrade Coffee Morning at Spring Café, Hunmanby

l Friday, March 4: Fairtrade day at St Augustine’s School

• Saturday, March 5, 10am to 11.30am: Fairtrade Coffee Morning at Filey Methodist Church

l Saturday, March 5: Fairtrade Coffee Morning at Cloughton Vicarage, Mill Lane, Cloughton

l Saturday, March 5, 10.30am to noon: Coffee morning and Fairtrade Stall at Scalby Methodist Church

l Saturday, March 5, 10am to noon: Fairtrade ‘Big Brew’ Coffee Morning, with a Caribbean theme, at St. Columba’s Church Hall, Dean Rd. Fairtrade, cake stall and raffle.

l Saturday, March 5, 10am to 11.30am: at St.Andrew’s URC, Ramshill Road. South Cliff Methodist church is joining with St. Andrew’s United Reform Church in organising a free Fairtrade Coffee Morning, to be opened by Scarborough’s Deputy Mayor Coun John Blackburn. Various stalls including raffle, home-made cakes, Fairtrade products plus complimentary samples of Fairtrade items.  

l Sunday, March 6, 6.30pm: 6th Day Worship for Peace and Justice at St Mark’s C of E Church in Coldyhill Lane

l Tuesday, March 8, 2pm to 4pm: Fair-Feast at Filey Methodist Church

l Wednesday, March 9: Fairtrade Day at Northstead School

l Thursday, March 10, 10am to 11.30p.m: Fairtrade ‘Big Brew’ Coffee Morning at West Ayton Methodist Church

l Saturday, Mardch 12, 10am to noon: Fairtrade ‘Big Brew’ Coffee Morning at St. John’s Filey

l Saturday, March 12, 10.30am to 1pm: Coffee morning, ‘spud and pud’ lunch and Traidcraft Stall at Northstead Methodist Church, Givendale Road.

There will also be Fairtrade Assemblies at Graham School and Newby School.