As part of The Fair Traders Co-operative’s build up for Fairtrade Fortnight this year, we are promoting sales of Fairtrade footballs from Pakistan. We want to get as many people as possible talking about Fairtrade Fortnight, and so we are encouraging sales of our Fairtrade Fun Footballs (£7.50, or £6.00 to FTC members) so that people can take part in our Fairtrade Keepy Uppy Challenge – how long can you keep up the Fairtrade
We’ve chosen this particular promotion because the theme for Fairtrade Fortnight this year is ‘take a step for Fairtrade’, so encouraging people to step up to a Fairtrade football challenge seems a fitting campaign. It also gives us an opportunity to highlight the positive difference that buying a Fairtrade football makes to the people involved in producing the balls – from those harvesting the rubber, to those hand stitching the footballs. Our supplier, Fair Corp, has written up for their website some of the stories of the people who make our Fairtrade footballs, and we have reproduced these below. These stories show how much better workers’ lives are as a result of working for Fairtrade, rather than the traditional sports ball trade. The Fair Traders Co-operative’s Education Group of volunteers has adapted these stories into a format appropriate for schools to use as a teaching resource – please get in touch for more information. Find out more about how you can get involved in The Fair Traders Co-operative’s Fairtrade Keepy Uppy Challenge here.
The Khan Family – a New Addition to a Fairtrade Family
Outside Sialkot, Pakistan, there is a small village called Gaper where a large Banyan tree provides welcome shade from the sweltering heat. The lush, paddy fields surrounding the village are home to numerous tropical birds and water buffalo, which wallow in the mud pools. Gaper is a very poor village; the road is extremely rutted and the few buildings are single-story brick dwellings that house large families. We met the Khan family who had just been joined by a new arrival of a healthy baby boy a few days before. His Mother, Mushulcut, is holding her new baby who was delivered at a good hospital in Sialkot where she stayed 24 hours after giving birth. The hospital fees and all necessary health care were paid entirely by the Fairtrade welfare scheme, “I am very thankful that the hospital was paid for,” she said, “without this we would be in debt. My last baby was also delivered with the help of the welfare scheme, she was a girl. Now we have a boy we have called him ‘Morcadus’ which means ‘The Holy’.” Mushulcut’s husband, Selferaz, was also keen to explain how helpful the Fairtrade scheme has been, “we are a Fair Trade family,” he smiles.
Rezwan Waris – Micro-credits for Maximum Ethics
When Rezwan does his ironing he overlooks the busy side street outside in Pasrur, a historic town close to Sialkot, Pakistan. “Daoud Ahmed’s Laundry Shop” announces a beautifully drawn sign on the shop window. Next to Rezwan, white, light blue, grey and beige kurtas and pyjamas, the long shirts and wide cotton trousers men in Pakistan traditionally wear, are neatly folded and stacked high on the shelf. His brother Mohammad is a football stitcher at Talon, which made 23-year old Rezwan eligible to receive a RS 30,000 loan from the Talon Fair Trade Workers Welfare Society to set up his laundry business. The most expensive investment was the large washing machine and spin drier, which his mother, Shadah, operates at home just a few minutes walk away from the shop. Six suits or twelve pieces of laundry can go through the 15 minute washing cycle at a time and are then dried on the roof of the house. Since Daoud Ahmed’s Laundry opened in December 2006, business has been going well. Depending on the fabric type Rezwan charges between RS 25 and RS 30 for washing and ironing a set of kurta / pyjamas – and the average male in Pasrur gets through three to four sets per week. After paying the rent and other expenses like detergents, Rezwan earns between RS 200 and RS 250 per day, which equals a Fair Trade football stitching wage and provides a reliable, continuous income for himself and support for his parents and siblings.
Sameena Nyaz – Decent Healthcare through Ethical Projects
Sameena Nyaz is 18 years old, single, and lives in a village called Chagelen near Sialkot, the world capital of football production in Pakistan. Her father runs the snack shop in the football stitching centre 200 meters away, which was built by Talon Sports, the first Fairtrade football supplier. Sameena goes there to stitch footballs and it is due to Fairtrade that this local centre is available. Most football stitching used to be done in the home but this was phased out by the big companies in an attempt to eradicate child labour. This had a hugely negative impact on families as companies moved the work into big factory units in order to prevent child labour but they effectively locked out women who could not afford to be away from home for the whole day. After home-based stitching stopped, the local stitching centre was one of the first where women could continue such work. Sameena is one of eleven siblings; she has seven sisters and four brothers, two of the older siblings also stitch balls. Stitching wages are low, only Fairtrade buyers pay enough to enable the three children to provide their family with all the basic necessities. Sameena never had the chance to attend school; instead she has been contributing to the family income from an early age, and has now been stitching for over three years. The family has a small hut and a kitchen garden, in which everyone helps out contributing to their everyday lifestyle. Not long before this photo was taken Sameena had to have a thyroid operation – the bandage on her neck is still there. All costs were paid for by the Fair Trade Welfare Society – the health care scheme made possible by the Fairtrade premium that is paid on every Fairtrade ball that is made.
Kitman – Fair Trade Projects Provide Safe Water for Local Community
Kitman, who is 67 years old, is still working full-time as a rubber tapper on the Frocester Plantation in Sri Lanka. By local standards, Kitman is a successful man; all of his seven sons have found work in the capital Colombo, which is two hours away by bus. The eldest is in charge of a small business, two have become tailors, two work as drivers and two are employed as shop assistants. One of his daughters is a teacher and the other works as a rubber tapper on the same plantation as her father. Kitman has managed to improve the basic accommodation provided by the plantation with the family’s combined savings, to the extent that the basic structure of what once was called battery housing is hardly noticeable. The house at present is occupied by nine people; Kitman and his wife, three of his daughters-in-law and two grandchildren, as well as his daughters. Previously, the house had one major drawback – there was no running water. This has to be fetched from an open well, 100 yards across the village road. According to the medical officer of the plantation, many people in the area suffer from dysentery and other water-borne diseases as a result from the lack of a safe water supply. This is where Fair Corp’s new Fairtrade rubber project came in. In an agreement with the plantation owners, Fair Corp’s sourcing partner ordered rubber for its ETHLETIC products and paid a Fairtrade premium of 0.50 EUR per KG of rubber. Subsequently, the management and the workers established a Fair Trade Welfare Society and jointly decided how this money should be spent. One project on which the money was spent was the installation of a pump and a piping system, so that 20 households around the well will each get a tap in front of their homes, including Kitman’s household. The other major Fairtrade project agreed was the restoration of a common room for the workers, a canteen area and a unit with sanitary toilets. A place where workers, mostly women, can change into their working clothes and keep food safely was also agreed. All of these projects were paid for by Fairtrade premiums; hopefully there will be many more to come that will improve the living and working conditions of workers, their families and the community.
Shymala – Fairtrade Funding for Higher Education
Shymala works in the latex factory of New Ambadi rubber estate. She is a trade union leader, not just representing the workers of the plantation, but also the rubber workers in the whole district. Additionally, Shymala is a member of the joint body which started when Fair Corp’s sourcing partners began buying rubber under Fairtrade conditions. Fair Corp’s sourcing partners are the only company in the world who pay a Fairtrade premium for latex, this is then processed into components for footballs and other sports balls in Pakistan providing an ethical way of supporting local communities. The joint body has regular meetings and keeps a minute book recording all relevant information. After many discussions, the joint body decided to save the Fairtrade premiums and start a fund to pay for higher education for the children of the plantation workers. Even though in principle education in India is free, sadly, only children who can afford to go to private schools have a chance of getting a decent job after their education. The joint body has told Fair Corp’s sourcing partners that it needs to buy at least ninety tons of rubber in order to feed the fund with enough money to start paying out stipends. Shymala hopes that her granddaughter will be one of the first to benefit from this scheme. She hopes she will train as a nurse, therefore giving something back to the local community. The three year course costs approximately £2750 in fees, which she could never afford out of her salary. The second benefit of Fair Corp buying rubber is that it has paid for New Ambadis registration with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) scheme for responsible forest management, helping to make rubber production more sustainable.
Take a step for fairtrade during Fairtrade Fortnight and beyond. Buy a fairtrade football here.
Earlier this year The Fair Traders Co-operative launched a Fair Trade Christmas Cake Kit which contained the key ingredients to make half a dozen Fair Trade Christmas cakes. As we all tuck in to a generous slice of the traditional cake over the festive period, it is worth reminding ourselves of the provenance of its key ingredients, because, as with all our products, each ingredient tell its own story. For example, our Christmas cake is helping Afghan grape farmers and their families rebuild their lives after more than 20 years of fighting.
Where the free market has failed these raisin farmers, our amazing suppliers, Tropical Wholefoods, have been working for over five years, against the odds, in a war zone, to develop the first Fair Trade product to come out of Afghanistan.
The Shomali Plain, Parwan province is known as Kabul’s Garden and is ideal for the cultivation of grapes, earning the farmers there a reputation in the 1960s and 70s for producing and exporting some of the best raisins in the world. However, during the Soviet era, civil war and Taliban regime, there was heavy fighting in the region. The low-lying grape vines provided perfect cover for fighters and therefore many of them were destroyed and the entire area was heavily mined.
Firstly ,Tropical Wholefoods helped the grape farmers form the Parwan Raisin Producer Cooperative, which has, in turn, helped them get better prices for equipment, seedlings, and materials.
Next, they provided training and equipment to help them resume production. This included grafting and pruning techniques, provision of trellis poles, and drying mats to keep them clean.
They linked the farmers with a raisin processor who could wash and clean the product for export.
Then, they worked with the farmers to improve their yield by over 100% and improve the quality by reducing waste and mould damage.
Lastly, the farmers are paid on time and at a Fair Trade price that is 30% over the current market price; and they are guaranteed a reliable customer year after year, provided we all buy these Fair Trade raisins. The first shipment of 40 tonnes was made last year.
Other ingredients from Tropical Wholefoods in our special Christmas Cake Kit include Fair Trade dried mangoes from a 2800 strong co-operative in Burkinho Faso. Drying mangoes provides local women with valuable paid income during the 5 month mango season from April through to August, enabling them to eat well, get their children educated and to buy medicine when needed.
There are also Fair Trade solar dried apricots from northern Pakistan. Drying prevents gluts, and the Fair Trade premium has provided materials and books to schools, irrigation upgrades, a new playground, water tanks, a generator, sewing machines, and school fees for the poorest students.
Our Fair Trade cinnamon is organically cultivated and comes from smallholder farmers in Sri Lanka. The fair trade premium has provided these poor rural communities with drinking water, education facilities, and agricultural tools.
Macadamia nuts are sourced from the NESMAC co-operative in the Ntchisi region of Malawi. A fair price and secure demand provide a vital lifeline for poor smallholder farmers in a community badly affected by climate change and AIDS.
Finally, the all important Christmas spirit! The sugar cane from which our rum is distilled is grown organically around Arroyos y Esteros, 60 miles north of Asuncion the capital of Paraguay helping the low paid sugarcane farmers, of whom there are about 1,000 in the area. The cane is milled and distilled locally further benefiting the economy. Their co-operative gives them strength to negotiate with large companies and market their products. Energy intensive milling and distilling is all powered by hydro electricity. The Rum is transported down river by barge to Buenos Aires; it is then shipped by sea to the UK for completion in a small London based distillery. The glass used for our bottles has a 70% recycled glass content. Organic cultivation avoids the health risks of pesticides and organic varieties of sugar are said to have a cell structure and biological make up that is excellent for making super smooth rums-so enjoy the rest of the bottle!
So there it is, a cake with a story, which we hope you will share with your friends, family, neighbours and colleagues over the festive season in the knowledge that you will be helping make a real difference to our supplier communities.
The current economic crisis has led a growing number of people to question the suitability of the capitalist system and even our Western democracy to cope with the big issues that confront us today: youth unemployment, climate change and the lack of sustainable new technologies to re-start economic growth. Many of us have already been affected by the accompanying social unrest, reduction in disposable incomes, stress and lifestyle issues, and changes to the environment.
Public services and charitable funding are being cut, and despite the lessons from the banking sector, more and more of us find ourselves dependent on a few dominant, profit driven, global companies for many of the essential things we need such as food, energy, and communications. They offer us choice (as long as we go to their ‘shop’) and often low prices. Often bigger and more powerful than governments, they distort the market in their favour by promising our political representatives jobs and investment, using offshore tax havens, stifling new competition, and more. What government facing re-election in three or four years can risk raising the energy, health, transport, or environmental taxes to the sustainable level that some of these companies should pay to reflect their negative long term impacts on society – both here and in the developing nations? The net result is they continue to grow and, directly or indirectly, crush or buy off anyone who threatens their oligopoly.
Any observer of history can see that this discounting of real costs and risks in the pursuit of endless growth is unsustainable – as proved the case with the banks. The longer it continues, the more painful the inevitable adjustment will be. A co-operative economy offers a genuine proven alternative. In 1844, similar exploitation was going on in the then dominant UK textile industry. Factory workers were often paid in ‘truck money’ – money issued by the mill owner, which could only be spent in his own shops where prices were as high as they could get away with (some might say a bit like loyalty points awarded by some retailers today). In response some consumers got together, each put in what they could afford, and started their own shop. They all had a vote to be sure of a fair deal that put their community first and they jointly decided how to use any financial surpluses. Thus began the co-operative movement and it developed the Values and Principles that co-operatives continue to work to today.
There are now nearly 5000 independent co-operatives in the UK owned by more than 12.9 million members. It has become a global movement and is growing rapidly as consumer trust of global corporations and governments diminishes, and there is increasing recognition of co-operation as a vital ingredient in economic development. The advent of the internet and social media is a big boost for the movement allowing quicker and more effective co-operation amongst diverse groups and enabling the participation of far flung communities with a common need – The Phone Co-op and The Co-operative Energy ventures being good examples.
Can the co-operative approach help the Holme Valley face up to the coming cut backs and build a better community for the future? Well it already is in a small way, and the success of other co-operatives nearby illustrates the tremendous scope for our community to work together, to address some of the key problems we face:
Experience has shown that small businesses are vital to job creation. Local, sustainable start ups providing products and services for the needs of today’s consumers offer training and opportunity, and ensure that a fair proportion of any wealth created remains in the region. Compare that with another new supermarket – a few shelf-stackers yes, but management, services, drivers, maintenance, and other skilled opportunities will go elsewhere.
New co-operatives, which already employ significant numbers in a local context, have started in the Holme and Colne valleys in sectors as diverse as baking, pig farming, Fairtrade retailing, fruit and vegetables retailing, and organic box schemes. Local co-operative members collaborating with the Transition Town movement and other local organisations and business have identified opportunities in education, manufacturing, agriculture, recycling, health and social care, tourism, and renewable energy. Most of these projects involve volunteers with money, experience, or specialised skills taking responsibility and working together in solidarity with younger people, contributing energy, imagination, and flair. Other co-operatives elsewhere are already operating successfully in these areas and are ready and willing to help. Consultancy, legal and financial support is available through the co-operative movement structures.
Climate change and poverty
Small local growers and retailers working together in our area offer fresher food, reduced food miles, lower pesticide and fertiliser use, and less local traffic. Demand is exceeding supply providing opportunities for new growers. Co-operative members have expertise and contacts in green buildings, renewable energy, and recycling schemes that could provide local employment and a quicker, more cost effective way to reduce carbon output than the mega projects touted by multinationals.
The Fairtrade supporter can buy an increasing proportion of their needs from suppliers who can demonstrate a positive social, environmental and economic impact on poor communities. Direct links have been established with these communities and local businesses, schools, NGOs and colleges, leading to collaboration on new fashion and food brands designed, marketed and packaged locally from upcycled or fairtrade ingredients. Aura Que handbags, Oromo coffee and Not Just Rice are examples, all empowering local people to make a difference whilst providing scope for local jobs and fair employment in developing world communities.
Stress and lifestyle issues
Cutbacks in health, social services, and government supported charities, mean we will increasingly have to look after vulnerable members of the community ourselves. Even The Royal College of Nursing warned recently that we may soon have to take personal responsibility for feeding our elderly relatives in hospital. Housing, foster care, palliative care, child care, homecare, and other social and health care co-operatives are operating throughout the UK providing a vital lifeline for communities and volunteering, job and training opportunities. Carers and cared for are treated as equals and have a democratic voice in the running of the service. Such volunteering can help individuals deal with isolation, depression, and unemployment as well as keeping care local.
Political apathy and short termism
There are no short term, easy answers to the problems we face. Tax cuts, debt fuelled spending, enterprise zones, etc so hotly debated by our politicians are increasingly irrelevant in the face of seismic changes in the world economy and environment. Effective local leadership is needed to create a climate where the huge collective talent that exists in our community is encouraged to work together for mutual benefit.
Bottom-up democracy is alive and well in the co-operative movement. Members hold boards to account, decide how to use any financial surpluses, and approve key decisions. They will tend to be active voters and support political candidates who are open, honest, and caring, and deliver for their local community. With over 2000 members of independent co-operatives in Holmfirth alone they have the potential to make their voices heard.
In conclusion, co-operatives are not a panacea, but anyone, be they old, young, unemployed, business leaders, civil servants, asylum seekers, politicians, etc, etc; wanting to do something positive to improve our community, can support and get involved with their local co-operative. Members are their lifeblood and they will welcome expressions of interest from individuals or organisations who wish to join, volunteer their help, start their own co-operative, or explore a partnership opportunity. Combining the talents and energy of our local community with the national and international networks of the co-operative movement offers real hope for the future.
Blog post by Mark Lewis
Although I am a member of the co-operatives listed below, the views expressed above are entirely personal and should not be taken as reflecting the opinion of any particular Society.
The Co-operative Group email@example.com
The Fair Traders Co-operative firstname.lastname@example.org
Wooldale Co-operative Society email@example.com
Watch this amazing animated short film by Accrington based Huckleberry Films which uses archive and animated footage to bring the story of the Rochdale pioneers to life and how their beginnings encouraged a global movement which incoporates over a billion members. Watch the New Pioneers film here.
The Holmfirth Food and Drink Festival is back, and for the second year running The Fair Traders Cooperative took part, with Fairtrade themed activities happening across the whole weekend. This ranged from food tasting to craft sessions and drumming, a talk by Just Trading Scotland’s John Riches to cooking demonstrations, and of course, The Fair Traders Cooperative’s rice challenge!
This year The Fair Traders Cooperative chose to theme their part in Holmfirth Food and Drink Festival around rice, launching the rice challenge at the beginning of September. The aim of this campaign is to ‘eat people out of poverty’ by selling at least 90kg of fair trade rice from Malawi during September, and another 90kg over the festival weekend. In doing this, for every 90kg sold at The Fair Traders Cooperative for a fair price, a farmer in Malawi earns sufficient income to send one child to high school.
As Holmfirth Food and Drink Festival kicked off, a pile of rice 90 bags high could be seen stacked up on the Holme Valley Fairtrade Support Group stall. Having sold the 90th kilogramme bag of rice well before Holmfirth Food and Drink Festival had even begun, staff and volunteers of The Fair Traders Cooperative and Holme Valley Fairtrade Support Group were eager to get stuck into selling the next 90kg, and by lunch time the heap had halved! Accompanying the rice pile on the fair trade stall was delicious coffee tasting from ethical coffee companies Oromo and Bolling Coffee, which supplies the well known Grumpy Mule fair trade coffee range.
Leaving the Holme Valley Fairtrade Support Group stall, giant orange and silver footprints led from Holmfirth’s market hall, along Huddersfield Road to The Fair Traders Cooperative shop. Here we were treated to a very interesting talk by John Riches from Just Trading Scotland. Just Trading Scotland is a non-profit company which imports the Kilombero rice on which the rice challenge is focused. John told listeners all about the rice farmers and the different fair trade makes to their lives, and explained the many difficulties involved in getting fairly traded rice milled, cleaned and exported from a land-locked country such as Malawi. This talk reinforced the importance of buying fairly traded instead of your every day rice, and made clear the difficulties rice farmers face in getting a fair price for their produce in Malawi. A key way of escaping the problem of rural poverty, we were told, is through education, which underlines the importance for these farmers of selling enough of their rice to pay for an education for their children. After listening to the presentation, Anna Watson of The Fair Traders Cooperative said, “How great it would be if we could achieve this amount over just one weekend!”
The next event on The Fair Traders Cooperative list was a cooking demonstration in the main market hall. Every seat in the hall was filled, and the walls of the room lined with spectators, as viewers were taken through the steps of how to cook ‘Feel Good Malawi Chicken’, presented by The Fair Traders Cooperative’s Mark and Maggie. Not only did we learn how to make a fantastic peanut chicken stew using Fairtrade ingredients, but we found out lots about the products used during the demonstration. This included Zaytoun Palestinian olive oil, Steenbergs spices, Liberation peanut butter, & you guessed it….. Kilombero Fairtrade rice from Malawi! The audience was also able to taste this fantastic stew and rice combo as the demonstration came to an end, sampling the rice involved in the rice challenge. Audience member Nick Batty told us that “This rice is very tasty! I will definitely be after my bag of rice now – not only is it delicious, but I get to do my good deed for the day. I might even cook this stew with it!” This recipe can be found on The Fair Traders Cooperative website (click here) for all to try out with their own bag of Malawi rice.
At the end of the first day, The Fair Traders Cooperative was well on target to achieve their goal for the weekend, having sold 84kg of the Fairtrade Kilombero rice from Malawi by 5pm on Saturday. This meant that only 6 of the 1kg bags had to be sold on Sunday to reach the target.
On the second day of Holmfirth Food and Drink Festival, guests of The Fair Traders Cooperative were entertained by The Holmfirth Drummers, with exciting beats and rhythms to dance and shake to in the Upper Bridge Quarter Gardens, opposite the shop. Accompanying this, onlookers were encouraged to recycle by making their own musical instruments from plastic containers and bottle tops at the junk modelling craft table nearby. Meanwhile, inside at The Fair Traders Cooperative celebrations were taking place, as by 1pm the target was not only reached, but exceeded by 2 whole bags! The Fair Traders Cooperative had achieved their target, helped by all the supporters who had purchased just one bag of rice across the festival weekend.
But it doesn’t stop there, The Fair Traders Cooperative is aiming to send a THIRD child school in Malawi, and they are already nearly there! So get down to The Fair Traders Cooperative, or buy your bag online at http://www.thefairtraderscoopertive.co.uk to be part of this fantastic campaign!
Posted by: Sophie Bebb
Mark and Maggie performed an amazing cookery demonstration during the Holmfirth Food & Drink Festival, presenting a delicious recipe to accompany the Malawaian Kilombero rice, the focus of our 90kg Rice Challenge. For those who missed it here is the transcript and the recipe from the demo.
“As we suffer from the effects of the recession and see our hard-earned cash less and less, just spare a thought for the rural farmers in Malawi. Reduced yields due to climate change and low prices mean families often go hungry. Secondary schooling has to be paid for, so children over 11 from lower income families, often don’t go to school and without a basic education they are condemned to a life of grinding poverty.
Why not try this delicious recipe -not only will it fill your belly but you will feel great knowing that you have helped give a young person a chance in life as well as supporting some great projects around the world, including one right here in West Yorkshire! Every ingredient is traceable and has its own story to which, if you are a gardener, you can add your chapter. This transforms a meal into an occasion to be shared with friends and family; I think this alone is worth the time and money involved. For vegetarians, two large aubergines can substitute for the chicken.
In Malawi chicken is a luxury. If you visit a rural family they will usually go out into the yard and kill and cook a chicken in your honour. Nothing is wasted, head, feet, and entrails are all used but the guest gets the choicest cut, usually regarded as its bottom! These chickens run free all day feeding on grubs and seeds etc and they taste completely different to the antibiotic and water filled, three-week old, caged cripples that represent the ‘value’ offerings from some supermarkets in the UK. The nearest thing I have found comes from the prize-winning Swillington organic farm near Leeds. Reared humanely, killed and dressed on the farm within a few days these are like Aberdeen Angus sirloin compared with budget supermarket mince!
First debone this worthy bird (about 1.3kg) and cut it into bite size pieces. Next wash 600 gm of Malawian Kilombero rice, smell its unique perfume and note how quickly the water runs clear, unlike cheap rice it does not consist of 10% dust! A farmer in Malawi needs to sell 90 kg of rice to send a child to school for a year so this meal is a start; 2.4 days schooling I make it! Put the rice into a large pan with a tight-fitting lid and, add water until it covers the rice to about ½ inch deep. Add a few drops of oil and a little salt and put it on a high heat to boil vigorously and then turn the heat right down to very low, and leave it at least 20 mins for brown rice, or around 10 minutes for white.
Now for the oil. Zaytoun Fairtrade Organic Palestinian olive oil available from the Fair Traders Co-operative isn’t cheap. The organically cultivated olives, from trees up to one thousand years old, tended lovingly by marginalised farmers yield a delicious green peppery oil. It is solely extracted by mechanical means and helps the farmers and their families survive in the face of conflict. Heat 1.5 tablespoons of the oil on medium-high in a heavy frying pan with a tight-fitting lid and brown the chicken quickly, then remove from the pan.
Reduce the heat to medium low and add 1 chopped onion, 2 large cloves of crushed garlic, and 1 large diced potato. My onion came from Mark Dickinson of the Holme Valley Gardening Network who cultivated it on the new allotments created by them last year behind the Wooldale Co-op. This community project also provides introductory ‘therapeutic gardening’ courses for people dealing with a range of difficulties. The organic garlic was grown in the walled garden at Swillington which is a community supported agriculture scheme. People become members and pay up front through weekly, monthly or annual payments. This gives the growers a guaranteed income and the customers a fair price and the knowledge of exactly where their food comes from. And now for my own ‘showing off’ and state that the potato used for the cookery demonstration was grown by myself in my Wooldale veggie patch despite the regular onslaughts by birds, insects, and the weather!
After 2-3 minutes its time for the spices-1 teaspoon each of chilli powder(less if you do not like it hot), black pepper corns , ground cumin , ground coriander and sea salt. All these are organic, carbon offset, and come from the wonderful Steenbergs near Ripon. The Fair Traders Co-operative stock the black pepper corns and can order the other lines in for customers if they wish. They are cultivated in India and Sri Lanka avoiding the use of child labour (common in conventional spice cultivation) and the harmful chemicals that can poison the pickers and harm wildlife. The Portuguese sea salt is organic certified and free from anti-caking chemicals. It is raked by hand from coastal sea pans minimising energy use and retaining important trace elements.
Back to the recipe, return the chicken to the pan and add 200 ml of water. Put the lid on the pan and simmer, stirring occasionally , for 10-15 minutes.
Next add 150 gm of Liberation Fairtrade peanut butter from The Fair Traders Co-operative . This contains less sugar and salt than most products and sustainably sourced palm oil so you won’t be contributing to deforestation in Indonesia. 42% of Liberation is owned collectively by the farmers who grow their nuts. The groundnuts come from the Mchinji region in Malawi . The farmers are guaranteed a fair price and the Fairtrade premium is allowing them to invest in social projects. One such project is a shelter for families at the local hospital. We can complain about the NHS but in Malawi families have to feed their loved ones in hospital usually sleeping on the road outside, often in the pouring rain.
I get really excited about peanuts. Peanuts and peanut butter are natural whole foods with a high fat content (about 50%) but no cholesterol. Peanuts are rich in essential fatty acids, high in protein (25%) which is as much as canned corn beef. They contain 10% carbohydrates and provide around 290 kcal per 50g. Peanuts have twice the amount of dietary fibre per 100g as brown bread. About 70% of the fatty acids in peanuts are unsaturated, with about 22% as monounsaturated fats. What this all means is that there is a huge amount of benefit from eating peanuts , though too many would not be good for a calorie controlled diet. Peanuts are rich in the minerals potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese and iodine . They also contain iron and zinc. Peanuts are as high in niacin which is vitamin B3 and are also rich in coenzyme Q10, a potent antioxidant.
It gets better; a recent study showed that peanuts had the high amount of total polyphenolic compounds known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancers. And just for good measure, peanuts do not form decay-causing acids in the mouth when eaten, unlike sweet snacks.
To the Feel Good Chicken recipe, we also add a 400gm can of organic chickpeas from Suma , the UK’s largest workers co-operative in Elland. This company has done a huge amount to pioneer affordable organic, vegetarian, and fairtrade food since starting in Leeds in 1975. They and their staff also support St Georges Crypt who help the homeless in Leeds, Children in need, Amnesty International , and other charities.
Now replace the lid, add a little more water if required and simmer for another 10 mins or until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender.
The Fair Traders Co-operative is supporting a campaign to send more children to school in Malawi. Our Rice Challenge is under way throughout September, and will be formally launched at Holmfirth’s Food and Drink Festival later in the month, with the goal of ‘eating people out of poverty’. We hope to sell at least 90kg of fair trade rice during September, and another 90kg on the weekend of Holmfirth Food and Drink Festival.
Have you ever thought that the brand of rice you buy could have an impact on whether children in Africa attend school or not? Well, by buying fairly traded rice instead of your usual brand, you really can make this difference. So here at The Fair Traders Co-operative we are launching a Rice Challenge to help increase sales of fair trade rice so that more Malawian farmers can afford an education for their children.
About 8 million people, or almost 70 per cent of Malawians, live below the poverty line. More than 90 per cent of them live in rural areas and depend on subsistence farming for their livelihoods. Only one in three children in Malawi attends high school, and yet there is clear evidence that education is one of the most effective ways to escape poverty. If a farmer in Malawi can sell 90kg of rice at a fair price, he or she makes sufficient income to send one child to school.
The Fair Traders Co-operative Rice Challenge makes it easy for you to support the livelihoods of Malawian farmers whilst enjoying high quality rice, and we will try to provide feedback for those buying The Fair Traders Co-operative’s Kilombero fair trade rice about the children and families helped by their purchases.
“This is a very exciting challenge,” says Anna Watson of The Fair Traders Co-operative. “For us it’s a way to get the message out there that shoppers really can make a huge difference to people’s lives just through the everyday purchases they make and the stores they choose to shop in. Here at The Fair Traders Co-operative we assess every product we sell for its impact on people and the planet, and customers can see the results of that assessment at a glance before they buy. We really want this Rice Challenge to inspire people by showing them the positive impact that choosing fair trade can have.”
The campaign launch at Holmfirth Food and Drink Festival will involve a presentation on Saturday 24th September by John Riches, of Just Trading Scotland, the fair trade company which imports the Kilombero rice on which the Rice Challenge is focused. John has first hand knowledge of the rice farmers and the difficulties they face. As a founder of a well established fair trade company and experienced campaigner, John will share share his story and bring that of the Malawian farmers to life.
There will also be a cookery demonstration and tasting session during the Food and Drink Festival by a Malawian cook in Holmfirth Market Hall at 2pm on Saturday 24th September, using the Kilombero rice. And if you come along to the Holme Valley Fairtrade Support Group stall during the festival, you will be faced with a ‘rice mountain’, representing the 90kg of fairly traded rice a Malawian farmer needs to sell in order to send one child to school.
Anyone buying our fair trade rice during the Rice Challenge will be invited to pledge to buy fair trade rice from The Fair Traders Co-operative so that rice farmers in Malawi can have a secure future. They will then be able to chart the shop’s progress towards sending more children to school in Malawi on the ‘rice-ometer’ to be displayed inside the shop and on its website.
So do join in with the challenge and BUY SOME RICE! … Let’s see just how many children we can help to an education and a way out of poverty. Click here to link to the Kilombero fair trade rice in our online store.
As far as festivals go, The Fair Traders Cooperative’s ‘Family Fairtrade Festival’ has it all. It is the ultimate destination for families seeking fun and adventure within an ethical setting, with more child-friendly activities than you can shake a stick at!
The Family Fairtrade Festival is an annual festival supported by The Fair Traders Cooperative. It is held in Holmfirth, and offers a range of family activities centred around an ethical theme, all packed into three fantastic hours of fun, frolicking and, of course, FAIRTRADE! The festival is timed each year to mark International Youth Day, and provides a day of ethical entertainment for our local young people and visitors alike.
The festival this year kicked off with a carnival of delights including music of the folk variety, accompanied by a female giant named Maximum, located in the Upper Bridge Quarter Gardens opposite The Fair Traders Cooperative, – this certainly grabbed the attention of passers by!
Held on Saturday 13th August, festival goers were treated to a host of activities. Children and grown ups alike were seen singing and jigging, juggling and poi-spinning, colouring and gluing! Circus tricks specialist David Steedman shared his love of the circus with festival goers, as he taught them how to juggle, swing poi and to use the diabolo. He also demonstrated his skills with such instruments, as crowds watched in awe at his ability to make circus skills look not only fun, but very easy to learn.
Families were invited to make their own paper windmill. These were very colourfully decorated, many with an eco-friendly and green theme. Whilst crafting, children were encouraged to think about wind energy as a resource, as they discussed what wind is, how it is made, and how it can be converted into electricity.
Little girls and boys waited patiently in line to have their faces painted, whilst brothers and sisters tried their hand at welly wanging. Helen Robinson, who came along with her family said, “I’m looking forward to the Family Fairtrade Festival of 2012 already. Welly wanging will be in the Olympics, just you wait and see.” The welly wanging was a very successful feature at this years festival, of which Madeleine Orme was the triumphant winner, her prize being an invitation for her and a friend to come along to a Fairtrade Fun on Fridays craft session, held in The Fair Traders Cooperative community room throughout the summer holidays.
Meanwhile, many children built and decorated one of the Paper Pod cardboard play-dens, sold at The Fair Traders Cooperative, with colourful and elaborate designs, both inside and out. Whilst sipping on a cup of Fairtrade tea, Rebekka Bojanowski one of the festival’s organisers, exclaimed, “The festival has been a big success! Bigger and better next year!!”Find out about other events at The Fair Traders Co-operative by checking the events calendar.
Many of us here in Britain rely on that first cup of tea in the morning to wake us up and get us going for the day. And it’s a good job that we do, because in other areas of the world, reliance on tea is far more fundamental than that: as many as twenty million people in the developing world are dependent on tea for their very survival. In India, for example, tea is the second largest employer, and ten percent of Kenya’s population works in the tea trade. It is for this reason that tea is a vital element in the fight against poverty. Despite the huge popularity of tea in wealthy nations, small scale tea farmers and workers in the tea industry benefit little from the money spent when you buy your average brew. Buying fairly traded tea is one way that we can all make a difference and improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people around the world. With this in mind, The Fair Traders Co-operative now stocks a range of ‘everyday’ Traidcraft teas to complement the selection of flavoured green and white Qi teas already available in its shop and online store. Choosing a Fairtrade tea such as those stocked by The Fair Traders Co-operative ensures that the farmer receives a fair price for the tea. And what’s more, it means that workers rights and environmental needs are respected in the production of the tea. Producing tea is a labour intensive process, and workers and small scale producers in the tea sector can work very long hours, suffer back problems due to the bending and lifting involved and are exposed to pesticides and other agro-chemicals that cause ill-health. Workers on the large plantations, or tea estates, can be powerless to change their circumstances as they can be totally dependent on the estates for everything from wages and healthcare through to schooling and sanitation, leaving them with little control over their lives. And, of the many players in the tea supply chain, the small scale farmers and labourers earn a tiny proportion – as little as 1% – of the final retail price of the tea, whilst also carrying the greatest burden of risk when market prices fluctuate. The length and complexity of the tea supply chain means that farmers and tea workers have little relationship to buyers, and often have little choice about who they sell to or what price they get for their produce. The Fairtrade Foundation reports that there is very limited competition in the tea supply chain, with seven companies controlling 85% of tea production through their own factories and estates. Retail sales are also highly concentrated: the top three packers control 60% of the tea market in the UK. This concentration and control by a few western companies is reflected in the breakdown of who accrues the largest share of the value chain: • Around 40% of the retail price of tea accrues to the tea traders and manufacturers, and a further 40% goes to the processors/blenders, packagers and retailers, based mainly in rich countries. • In tea-producing countries, around 15% of the retail price goes to the plantation and factory, and less than 1% to the auction broker. • The plantation worker is likely to earn 1% or less. So whilst lacking power in the supply chain and receiving a very small proportion of the price of tea, small scale tea growers have to cope with the reality of increasing costs, such as for fuel, labour and fertiliser. Inflation has caused the price of living to go up, and yet tea producers have not benefited from increases in the nominal price of tea, receiving in fact only about half of what they did 30 years ago. And climate change is adding to their difficulties by causing unpredictable harvests, with recent droughts affecting crop outputs in many tea producing areas of the world. So, buying Fairtrade tea really can make all the difference. Fairtrade standards act as a safety net against the unpredictable market, providing a minimum price that aims to cover the costs of sustainable production, as well as a Fairtrade premium for investment in social, economic and environmental improvements, and providing credit if needed. The Fairtrade environmental standards require environmental protection, restrict the use of agrochemicals and encourage sustainable farming and processing methods. But perhaps the most crucial element of the Fairtrade standard is that the tea workers on plantations and the smallholder members of the producer organisations are able to take more control over their own future. Small scale farmers are organised into associations and must manage the Fairtrade premium democratically, reinvesting it according to priorities identified by the farmers themselves. This can include improving the services of their own organisation, improving quality control, or investing in social or environmental projects to benefit the whole community. The Fair Traders Co-operative stocks a variety of teas, including Everyday Tea, Everyday Decaffeinated Tea, African Gold Tea and Everyday Green Tea by Traidcraft and a range of flavoured green and white teas by Qi. Click here to browse and buy these high quality teas that really do ensure better livelihoods for vulnerable people.
Customers, members and staff were partying around the piano at the Fair Traders Co-operative on Sunday 12th June to celebrate our first birthday. And that was following a day of piano-playing fun on Saturday 11th to kick-start the Holmfirth Street Pianos project as part of Holmfirth Arts Festival.
If you’re local to Holmfirth, the chances are you’ve heard the strains of piano music drifting around the town during the Arts Festival. Holmfirth Street Pianos is a collaboration between Holmfirth Arts Festival and The Fair Traders Co-operative, which set out to see what would happen when five pianos were left on the streets of the town for anyone to play. The results have been amazing, with many an inspired performance by locals and visitors alike.
And to launch the event at the start of the Arts Festival there was a party around each piano. Free fair trade cake was given out at the party piano outside The Fair Traders Co-operative and children crowded to get involved in the circus skills and balloon modelling provided by Crafty Devilz at the banana piano at Norridge Bottom. Piano music filled the air, and there was even singing; the men on the scaffolding at Holy Trinity Church joined in beautifully with the sounds of the cotton piano outside Sid’s Cafe.
There was more fair trade cake to be had the next day, when The Fair Traders Co-operative celebrated their first birthday. The shop first opened its doors in June 2010, and to commemorate a year of making a difference to workers and their communities in some of the most disadvantaged countries in the world, The Fair Traders Co-operative invited suppliers, members, customers and visitors to a party at the shop. There was piano music, a performance by members of local jazz band New Orleans Wiggle, and a party-hat-making workshop for children.
To complement Holmfirth Arts Festival, a live window display saw local children and volunteers from the shop sipping tea, dancing and sharing fair trade cake. And as a really special birthday treat, Zimbabwe-born X Factor star, Beatrice Masvingise, sang a beautiful and moving song for us in her native language and cut the fair trade birthday cake. If you missed the party, you can see video footage and photos on our Facebook page.
The Fair Traders Co-operative wishes to thank all our members, customers, volunteers, staff, suppliers and supporters who have helped to make our first year successful. By continuing to buy ethically sourced products and supporting non-profit making fair trade ventures such as The Fair Traders Co-operative, each of us can make a positive difference to the people and communities who produce the items we purchase and consume each day. Click here to access our online store.
Holmfirth’s reputation as a cultural centre has been growing over the years, and with good reason. The town is home to a thriving artistic community and puts on a full calendar of festivals showcasing local artistic and musical talent.
The Fair Traders Co-operative is proud to support these events and to sell the work of local artists in its Huddersfield Road shop. A fringe venue for Holmfirth Art Week 2011, the shop will house three exhibitions by artists with links to the Holme Valley. The artwork on display will also fit with the shop’s ethos of sustainability, by being made from recycled materials.
Promoting environmental protection and sustainable development is a core element of the way that The Fair Traders Co-operative does business. Products sold through the shop and its online store undergo a unique sustainability assessment process, which involves finding out as much as possible about the impact of each product on the environment, on people and on the economy. This information is then made available for customers alongside a simple sustainability star rating that is presented on labels displayed with the products.
“We want our customers to be able to make informed choices when choosing between different products, and to know that a purchase here improves livelihoods and helps the environment,” said Helen Robinson of The Fair Traders Co-operative. “Another way we promote sustainability is by selling goods that have been produced locally and by supporting local events such as Art Week.”
Holmfirth Art Week’s main exhibition in the Civic Hall this year runs from 3rd to 9th July. Proceeds from the event will go, as in previous years, to MacMillan Cancer Support. For the duration of Art Week, The Fair Traders Co-operative will house eco-friendly collections by Tanya Palmer, Sophie Bebb and Maike Browning to include textile art, collage and recycled silver jewellery.
Tanya Palmer, a Holmfirth-based artisan and textile artist, last year won Holmfirth Art Week’s Florence Parker Memorial prize for Best Newcomer for her exhibit ‘South Lane, Holmfirth’. Some of Tanya’s craft products, such as beautiful tea- and coffee-cosies, brooches and bags are already on sale in The Fair Traders Co-operative shop and in its online store. Like these products, Tanya’s artwork utilises vintage and recycled textiles. “My textile art work is created using a mixture of appliqué and free-motion embroidery – which is me ‘drawing’ with my sewing machine,” said Tanya. “I also like to use splashes of colour, often with vintage fabric.”
Meltham artist Sophie Bebb’s collection of collage utilises recycled images from newspapers and magazines alongside
snippets of text on recycled newsprint that challenge the viewer’s concepts and assumptions. The result is art works that are sharp and pithy, whilst being accessible to a wide audience. “I believe strongly that we all need to take responsibility for our impact on people and on the environment, which is why I use recycled materials in my work,” said Sophie. “Exhibiting at The Fair Traders Co-operative is wonderful for me, because its aims and ethos fit closely with my own.”
Also exhibiting will be Maike Browning, who grew up in the Holme Valley and designs and makes contemporary silver jewellery. Drawing inspiration from her travels in India, her tactile, delicate jewellery is both beautiful to look at and a pleasure to wear. “I work intuitively with precious and non-precious materials, adding flickers of colour using precious stones and coloured threads,” said Maike. “I am happy to say that this collection is made almost entirely with recycled silver and all the jewellery is packaged in recycled boxes.” Using recycled silver improves both the environmental and ethical impact of the jewellery as the mining of silver, along with other metals, is considered to be very damaging to the environment and often lacking in human rights and labour regulations.
Sophie and Maike should both feel at home exhibiting at The Fair Traders Co-operative. Following completion of a degree in Jewellery and Silversmithing at the Edinburgh College of Art, Maike worked in The Fair Traders Co-operative shop until her move back to Edinburgh earlier this year to pursue a career as a jeweller. She also runs occasional silver jewellery workshops for beginners in the Community Room. A graduate in Fine Art Skills and Practice from Central St Martin’s in London, Sophie works part time at The Fair Traders Co-operative, leaving her time to develop her art portfolio… as well as offering many volunteer hours to The Fair Traders Cooperative to help with our events programme.
There will be a preview evening at The Fair Traders Co-operative on Friday 1st July at 7.30pm. Please come along, share some wine and be among the first to view the exhibition.