Fairtrade Fortnight: How we can all get involved

Fairtrade Fortnight is coming up (28th February – 13th March 2011), and there are plenty of ways to get involved in your local UK city.  Check out the Fairtrade Big Swap page with a list of events happening in London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Newcastle, Liverpool and Dundee.

Supermarkets will also be advertising their Fairtrade goods more prominently in the coming weeks, so look out for those promotions and free samples whilst shopping.  Also Oxfam will be advertising Fairtrade loads; the first 350 Ethical Collection orders (their Fairtrade collection) over £10 will receive a free pack of Cafédirect medium roast Fairtrade coffee. Yum.

The Fairtrade website also advertises what products are now available in Fairtrade form, so before you next go shopping, be sure to look at the loooong listof all the Fairtrade swap-ups you could make.  You can also download their Little Book of Swap.  It’s a short and sweet booklet, which gives you information on why we should all think about swapping to Fairtrade cotton, fruit, coffee and other products.

Fairtrade products available in most supermarkets

Fairtrade Product Prices:

Wine: Sainsburys from £5; Co-Op 3 for £12.

Tea: Sainsburys £1.64 for 80 bags; Co-Op 2 x 80 bags for £2.50; Tesco £1.83 for 80 bags

Coffee: Sainsburys from £3.18; Co-Op ground coffee 2 for £3; Tesco £2.59

Cocoa Powder: Sainsburys, £1.89;  Tesco, £1.89 (both Green & Blacks Cocoa, 125g)

Oranges: Sainsburys £1.95 for 5; Tesco £1.50 for 4

Bananas: Sainsburys £1 (was £1.39); Tesco £1.37

Sugar: Sainsburys £1.09 (1kg own brand); Tesco 68p (Tate & Lyle, 1kg)

Honey: Sainsburys & Tesco, both £2.99 (Rowse Chilean Fairtrade Honey, 340g)

Ice-cream: Sainsburys & Tesco both £4.29 (Ben & Jerry’s Fairtrade ice-cream, 500ml)

– – – – –

It’s easy to make a couple of changes to become more Fairtrade.  Tate & Lyle sugar has now become Fairtrade, Bournville cocoa powder is also Fairtrade (I get through so much of it with my cooking!), and Fairtrade options of tea, coffee and bananas are readily available in all supermarkets.  Though food might be one of the options that you decide to try Fairtrade, there are other options as well.  Marks & Spencer now do a range of Fairtrade t-shirts for both men and women (plus all their coffee and tea in their cafés are Fairtrade, organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified™).  Read more about their Fairtrade cotton and their tea and coffee.

Boots also do a fantastic range of bathing and beauty products called Boots Extracts, that you can check out.  The body butters are divine, and though a bit on the expensive side of moisturisers, they are so worth it.  I bought the Extracts Fairtrade Cocoa Butter Body Butter (200ml) for £7.92 in the Autumn, and I’ve still got half the tub left, after using it regularly for several months.  They’d make a fantastic gift for someone’s birthday (and you can get smaller 50ml versions too, for £2.55).

You could also search for Fairtrade shops around the area that you live.  Shared Earth – which has shops all over the UK – sells beautiful hand-crafted wooden boxes, jewellery and ornaments, which make perfect Christmas and birthday presents.  Whenever I go into their shop, I find it so difficult to not just go buying lots of things for myself…!  They also have a website, which you can use to find your local shop, or shop online (they offer free delivery to all UK orders over £20).

Though it might seem daunting (and expensive) sometimes to swap your normal options for Fairtrade ones whilst shopping , especially if you have a limited budget, think of it this way; 20p more for a Fairtrade packet of tea isn’t that much of a change to us.  However, it could change the life of a child in the Third World by giving his family a fair wage, allowing them to send him to school to get an education, something that we take for granted all too often.  That 20p seems insignificant to us, doesn’t it?… But it changes that child’s life.  Pretty cool stuff when you think about it.  And by making that stand and choosing Fairtrade products, we’re showing the supermarkets and chain stores that they need to introduce even more Fairtrade products, in turn helping more families and communities in the Third World.

So what do you all think about Fairtrade?  Do you actively choose Fairtrade options over others?  And how do you find it balances out with your normal shopping budget?

(P.S.  I seem to have gone a bit link-happy for this blog post… Sorry about that, but seriously, check out those links, there’s some fantastic stuff there!).

(P.P.S.  I’ll be cooking and baking using Fairtrade ingredients to support Fairtrade Fortnight, so check back for recipes soon!)

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