If you like a good party, support fair trade or just enjoy piano music and cake, then you won’t want to miss The Fair Traders Co-operative’s first birthday party celebrations. These will be taking place as just one of the wide variety of fantastic events planned for Holmfirth Arts Festival’s Street Pianos project. Do come along and join in!
Holmfirth Street Pianos is an absolute must see event, running throughout the Arts Festival from 11th – 26th June 2011. (Check out our link in support or the project.)In fact it’s not just about ‘seeing’, it’s about listening, discovering and getting involved. For the duration of the Arts Festival, five upright pianos will be placed around the streets of Holmfirth for anyone to play. As well as impromptu performances by the passing public, there will be organised events around each piano, from teddy bears’ picnics for tots, to pensioners playing the golden oldies; and from rock dads, to partying fair traders!
Each piano will be ‘themed’ to draw attention to the benefits of fair trade and sustainable living, and plenty of information will be available for people to find out more about the issues behind the themes. The ‘cotton piano’ will be decorated with vintage cotton patches and will be used to highlight the way conventional trade leaves millions of cotton farmers in poverty around the world. The ‘banana piano’ – and accompanying gorilla – will be difficult to miss, and will draw attention to the plight of struggling banana farmers. The ‘coffee piano’ will emphasize the scale of child labour involved in conventional coffee production and the ‘recycle piano’ may look like a pile of old junk, but will aim to make people think about the impact of our ‘disposable’ lifestyles.
And of course, the ‘party piano’, to be placed outside The Fair Traders Co-operative, will be festooned with balloons and bunting and will be the hub of the party – with plenty of fair trade cake and local beer available for those who like to indulge while they celebrate!
The Fair Traders Co-operative started trading a year ago as a result of investments from individuals, community groups, businesses and other co-operatives both locally and from further afield (our most distant investors are from a fair-trade banana farming community in the Caribbean). We sell fairly traded, ethical and sustainable products from the local area and producer groups across the world. The business now has nearly 500 members, an online store has been launched, and there is an ongoing programme of workshops and events held in the shop’s stone vaulted Community Room.
The focus of the birthday celebrations will be on Sunday 12th June; exactly one year after The Fair Traders Co-operative first opened its doors to the public. The party will be in full swing from 1pm to 4pm, complete with street entertainers, presents and music from local jazz band New Orleans Wiggle. And to tie in with the celebrations and with Holmfirth Arts Festival, there will also be a unique ‘living window display’ on 12th June in The Fair Traders Co-operative’s large window on Huddersfield Road.
Holmfirth Street Pianos is a partnership event between Holmfirth Arts Festival 2011 and The Fair Traders Co-operative. If you are interested in getting involved there are weekend workshops dedicated to decorating the pianos and generating interest, commitment and enthusiasm. Or else just come along and give us a tune during the festival fortnight. Find out more on our events calendar or on the Holmfirth Street Pianos facebook page
The school holidays are looming again, and with the Easter break seeming so recent, parents may feel stuck for ideas for keeping little hands and minds busy during the coming week. That’s where The Fair Traders Co-operative can help!
Throughout the half term holiday there will be fun workshops running twice a day in the Community Room in The Fair Traders Co-operative shop. Children of all ages are invited to come along (accompanied by an adult) and make their own holiday scrapbook for recording memories of their summer holidays and storing photos and other souvenirs. Children will be guided through the process of making a scrapbook from recycled and fair trade materials and all the crafty bits and bobs needed will be supplied.
The workshops, which are sponsored by Holmfirth Colour Print, will begin at 11am and 2pm each day between Monday 30th May and Sunday 5th June (except Thursday 2nd June) at a cost of £2 per child. Parents could use this as the perfect opportunity to take some time for themselves and browse the wide range of ethically traded products available in the shop (view our product range in our online store), or to simply relax in the Community Room with a cup of fair trade coffee or tea. Booking is recommended, so please visit the store or book online to ensure your child’s place.
If you can’t make it to the workshops, your children can still enjoy making a scrapbook for saving holiday memories using a fair trade ‘My Holiday Scrapbook Kit’ available from The Fair Traders Co-operative. Made in India using environmentally friendly materials, these kits contain an 8” by 8”handmade paper album along with over 350 other pieces and embellishments, including image frames, coloured letters, stickers, ribbons and sequins. Just open the packet and let your child’s imagination run wild!
A range of other craft kits for children is also available in the shop and online, including a wind chime kit, a make your own fairy kit, mask and puppet kits, a make your own spaceship kit and origami and necklace packs. And as with all of our products, buying these craft kits will really make a difference to the lives of people in the developing world. The kits are all supplied by The India Shop, which works to provide sustainable employment for disadvantaged producers in India. It is a member of the British Association of Fair Trade Shops and of the World Fair Trade Organisation, providing much needed employment, particularly in rural areas. Trading with family firms and co-operatives, The India Shop hopes for long term working relationships and continuous employment for its craftsmen, who are treated with respect, given good working conditions and paid a fair wage.
You can link to the crafts and stationary section of our online store here
The Fair Traders Co-operative is working closely with local partners to support a group of young Kenyan farmers who are visiting the UK at the end of May. Huddersfield based Young Ethical Pioneers have organised the visit to provide opportunities for the farmers to learn about fair trading, ethical supply chains and to set up a direct trading link between Yorkshire and Kenyan youth. The young people are from Nyeri in central Kenya, where they work as coffee, dairy and tomato farmers on small family-owned farms. They are coming to the UK to learn about how their raw crops are turned into marketable produce, and how they can organise youths in Kenya to set up trading links with the youth enterprise groups in Yorkshire. The Fair Traders Co-operative will facilitate a day of training where the young people will explore business ideas around new products. Alongside the visit The Fair Traders Co-operative will be focusing on the varied range of Kenyan products already on offer in the Holmfirth shop and online, all of which are supplied by small artisans and manufacturers and support the very kinds of communities which the Kenyan farmers represent. As well as partnering with The Fair Traders Co-operative, the Young Ethical Pioneers are working with The Co-operative College and Bolling Coffee to organise a week of events and learning workshops for their guests. The events and the visit are part of the Global Community Linking programme which provides funding to groups to establish direct community to community links and raise awareness of global development issues in their communities.
The Young Ethical Pioneers (YEPs) formed in 2009 through a youth enterprise programme called ‘Not Just Us’ set up by local charity the Lorna Young Foundation. The aim of the programme is to teach young people who wouldn’t normally get the chance all about international development and fair trading. The programme provides training in all aspects of running a social enterprise and supports groups to set up and run their own ethical trading enterprises. So far the LYF has set up groups in Huddersfield, Leeds and Doncaster. The YEPs are currently working on developing a product range researched and designed themselves, ensuring that the supply chain and the people involved have not been exploited in the process of bringing the product to market. The link with Kenyan youth is an important element in their learning as not only will they be able to work directly with producers of the raw materials, but they will hear first hand some of the struggles faced by their peers in developing countries and be able to help directly by ensuring the profits from the produce are shared with the producers. The visit to Huddersfield is a chance for the Kenyan youth to learn about how fair trade business works, about UK markets, and to see how value is added to their produce once it leaves the farm. And when they return to Kenya they will be passing on their knowledge to other young people with the aim of getting more young people involved in farming. The challenge is for youth to see farming as a viable business; one problem being that young people do not want to take farms over from their parents who struggle to make a living. LYF’s work in developing countries seeks to address some of the problems facing farmers by training smallholders to understand markets and supply chains and enable them to get more value from their produce and improve their lives. In addition to the workshop that The Fair Traders Co-operative will be running, Bolling Coffee, a local coffee roaster, will host the YEPs and the Kenyans for an afternoon so that the young coffee farmers can see exactly what happens to coffee beans once they are exported; how value is added and how the coffee is processed, packaged, branded and sold to consumers. The Co-operative group, who sponsored one of the young farmers, will take the group to one of the Co-operative group’s farms to see how produce is processed from farm to fork, and to a co-operative store to learn about ethical sourcing and branding. The YEPs are planning to end the week with a finale event in Huddersfield town centre, where their Kenyan guests can take part in some real ethical trading in Huddersfield’s outdoor market. The YEPs are hoping that one outcome of their link with Kenyan farmers will be to persuade people in Huddersfield the value of ethical purchasing. To welcome our Kenyan guests to The Fair Traders Cooperative we are showcasing just some of the amazingly varied products we are currently stocking that have been made in Kenya.
Our Supplier Needs You! This was the plea that we received back in March from one of our close partners and suppliers. One of his producers in India had just completed a very large order for an American customer, an order which took every inch of space in the workshop and had taken months to prepare, every piece handcrafted by a small team of workers. It was at this point they received the shocking news that the order had been cancelled, a devastating blow after huge investments in labour, financially, and in terms of the business’s long term future.
One of the key aims of The Fair Traders Co-operative is to support suppliers working in disadvantaged communities and this sort of plea was one to which we were happy to respond. Not least, because the products themselves are amazing, unusual and score fantastically in our Sustainability Assessment. So let us introduce you to this brand new range – planters and hanging baskets created almost entirely from reclaimed sweet wrappers. Each glistening wrapper is hand twisted into a cord which is surprisingly strong, extraordinarily colourful and versatile enough to form around a wire basket to create stunning hanging baskets, plant pots and even bird houses.
The manufacturer is Noah’s Ark, a World Fair Trade Organisation Member, based in Moradabad. Noah’s Ark has a long history of supporting the community where the factory is based. They have already started three new schools locally, giving the opportunity for 350 children to go to school for the first time. The products, which they produce for export, create jobs for 150 artisans.
The Fair Traders Co-operative seems to throng with keen gardeners, so we hope that these latest products will be gracing many member’s gardens over the summer; indeed we would love to see some photographs of planters and baskets overflowing with flowers which we can share with Noah’s Ark and their workers. So… let’s get planting!
Holmfirth Festival of Folk has been running since 2005 and has grown into an extremely popular community based festival, which attracts a large number of locals as well as ‘folkies’ from further afield. The folk events took place between 6th and 8th of May, in the local pubs and on the streets and for the first time, at The Fair Traders Cooperative!
This year The Fair Traders Cooperative hosted a medley of events, kicking off with Little Folk. Run by Roz Walker and supported by Barnaby’s Day Nursery, Little Folk saw babies and toddlers bouncing, clapping and shaking to all of the songs featured in the session. During the course of the workshop the pre-school children were encouraged to join in with singing songs involving actions and also to play a few basic instruments, whilst parents sat back and watched, with a cup of Fairtrade coffee in hand. Songs included popular nursery rhymes and traditional children’s songs, which could be heard floating up from The Fair Traders Cooperative community room all Saturday Morning. Guests departed from the workshop merry and well prepared for more folk action in the weekend ahead.
Shortly after, a new wave of children were seen bustling through The Fair Traders Cooperative, eager to attend Noisy Folk. This workshop involved a lot of music making mayhem, as children of all ages joined in with this exciting workshop creating their own unique musical instruments out of junk! The Fair Traders Cooperative regularly hosts junk modelling workshops using recycled materials collected in the downstairs community room, but Noisy Folk, aimed at making instruments which produce plenty of noise, was by far the most popular and productive! The community room was packed out with wannabe musicians creating masterpieces out of mess: recycling at its very best! A repeat performance was seen on the Sunday afternoon, producing the noisiest of home-made instruments which were used during a variety of musical numbers performed at the end of Sundays workshop for parents and staff. Visitors at The Fair Traders Cooperative experienced trombones, guitars, shakers, cymbals and of course drums, to mention just a few!
The Fair Traders Cooperative is all about co-operation, and so to get in to the ‘folkie’ spirit all throughout the Festival of Folk weekend, The Fair Traders Cooperative could be seen collaborating with the Holme Valley Fairtrade Support Group and Barnsley Samba Band, Ritmo Unido in “Drumming up Support for Fairtrade”. Dancing, music and Samba drums from Ritmo Unido took place in the Queens Park, opposite The Fair Traders Cooperative throughout the weekend. Audiences were treated to exciting samba rhythms and were encouraged to join in clapping and dancing along to the addictive beat, which could be heard streets away! Crowds were drawn to the hammering sound of those samba drums, unable to keep their feet from tapping along to the beat!
All of the exciting events held at The Fair Traders Cooperative over the weekend were deemed a success, so here’s to many more events in collaboration with Holmfirth Festival of Folk, we look forward to even more next year!