Fair Trader heads to Westminster!
On a wild, wet 1st March, we headed to the House of Commons, where MPs were launching an all-party parliamentary group (APPG) to promote Fairtrade.
There was a distinctly local flavour to this event, as we were joined by other members of Holme Valley Fairtrade and students from Honley High School.
It’s no co-incidence that the Group is jointly chaired by local MPs (Jason McCartney, Colne Valley and Holly Lynch,Halifax), as its creation is partly due to the lobbying of Yorkshire campaigners, especially Helen Robinson.
Patrick Kaberia Muthaura, a Kenyan tea producer, and Julio Mercado Cantillo, a banana farmer from northern Colombia spoke movingly about the impact of Fairtrade on their families. The theme of this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight ‘Sit down for breakfast, stand up for farmers’ highlights seasonal hunger faced by millions of farmers worldwide.
Patrick Kaberia Muthaura, Kenyan tea producer, with Michelle and Kathryn from fair trader
The students stole the show – serving Fairtrade tea and coffee and taking a “Who are you, and what are you doing about Fairtrade?” approach to the great and the good! Honley High has a very active Fairtrade Forum and the students are well informed about all aspects of Fairtrade – and make the effort to have lots of Fairtrade activities in school.
#FairtradeAPPG mapped live Fairtrade questions and answers and there were words from speakers including Mike Gidney (CEO of the Fairtrade Foundation) and Minister of State Desmond Swayne. Holly Lynch endeared herself to the packed audience by recounting a recent shopping experience. On asking “Do you have any Fairtrade biscuits? “, the response was “No, but we’ve got gluten-free, if that’s any good!”
Over 30 MPs came to find out more. Each MP, understandably, proved to be an expert cherry picker of the most useful information for his/her constituency. Several MPs were interested in the community co-operative model that is Fair Trader.
So, why not contact your local MP and encourage him/her to join the APPG, link with local Fairtrade campaigners and promote Fairtrade in your constituency!
Michelle Brown and Kathryn Sheard
Fairtrade Foundation http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/
Honley High School www.honleyhigh.co.uk
Holme Valley Fairtrade www.holmevalleyfairtrade.com
The Co-operative Retailer http://www.co-operative.coop/our-ethics/fairtrade/