26 February 2012

Fairtrade Fortnight 2012

Let's Take a Step Together!

I'm gearing up for tomorrow! I have my t-shirt, I have the brochures, I have the stickers, I have the products, I've got the ingredients for cake, yeah, I have my cake and I'm going to eat it and I'm going to make sure that you get some too! And it's all Fairtrade!

Monday the 27th of February, is the start of Fairtrade Fortnight and it runs up to Sunday the 11th of March.

The aim of Fairtrade Fortnight this year is to get 1.5 million steps for Fairtrade registered as actions. so, this Fairtrade Fortnight is to inspire you if you've taken a step before, or if you've never taken a step before! There are so many different steps that we as individuals or businesses can take, they might be small steps but each of them added together can make one big step, to help farmers and they communities in developing countries to receive fairer payments, fairer wages and fairer conditions.

Our Fairtrade Story
When we opened our coffee shop 3 years ago and we made a pledge to ourselves to use only Fairtrade coffee, not to offer a choice but to commit 100% to Fairtrade coffee, despite the tough economic times, we knew that it was the only way that we could feel good running our business. As individuals, our business is an extension of ourselves and what I wouldn't feel comfortable doing in my personal life, I will not do in my business life either. So, yes, we chose Fairtrade coffee, we went on to choose after just a couple of months Fairtrade tea and chocolate and we just kept expanding the amount of Fairtrade that we did, until after just 6 months we bought our own oven specifically so that we could commit to using Fairtrade ingredients in our cakes.

How did this passion for Fairtrade begin? Well, I read about it in a pamphlet from the Fairtrade Foundation, just a month before we opened our coffee shop. I had not heard of Fairtrade before that time. That's what inspired me to create a guide to the independent shops in Enfield that sell or serve Fairtrade, you can pick one up in our shop, or you'll find me out and about during Fairtrade Fortnight, encouraging other individuals and businesses to 'Take a Step' for Fairtrade and I'll have a stack of them with me then, to give out.

You can download our guide to Fairtrade in Enfield, from here!

Fairtrade shouldn't be a unique selling point!
The decision that my partner Gunter Hollenstein and I took, to stock Fairtrade was hardly a decision but more of a heartfelt step that we knew we had to take. Is there really a choice? If you know that one way of trading means that checks have been made, premiums paid and a minimum price band introduced and another means that workers are unable to unionise, that there is no guaranteed price and communities are not given additional help, then why would you, or even could you choose any other way? The Fairtrade labelling system guarantees that the farmers of that product in the developing countries have been given a Fair deal, as specified by internationally agreed trading standards.

I don't want My Coffee Stop stocking a good range of Fairtrade products to be our unique selling point! This is a unique selling point that, I'm wishing wasn't!

I actively encourage and delight in telling other coffee shop owners the excellent Fairtrade suppliers that we've found, so that they can support Fairtrade too and that's why suppliers are listed for everyone to see and use in the Fairtrade Guide that we have produced.

Fairtrade Fortnight Launch!
Just over 6 months after the riots in Enfield, I'll be taking to the very same streets to launch Fairtrade Fortnight in Enfield. I'll be wearing my Fairtrade tee-shirt, armed with stickers, the Enfield Fairtrade Directory and cards on which to register step/s and I'll be encouraging individuals and businesses to 'Take a Step', with me for Fairtrade!'

I'll be starting out at the Civic Centre in Enfield and will work my way up through the high street and back up to  My Coffee Stop at Enfield Chase Station. I'll pick out people and businesses randomly to approach and encourage to 'Take a Step' for Fairtrade, in the hope of helping the Fairtrade Foundation accomplish a grand total of 1.5 million registered steps!

The launch will take place at 10am on the first day of Fairtrade Fortnight, Monday February 27th, outside the Civic Centre, by the chunky Enfield sign.

Keep an eye out for me throughout Fairtrade Fortnight, as you never know when I might appear and ask you to 'Take a Step' with me!

Please Take a Step
I hope this post inspires you to join in and 'Take a Step', when you've taken that step, whatever it is, please register it here!

Please help me to encourage people to 'Take a Step' by sharing this article, wherever you can!
Facebook, Twitter, +1 it if you so desire. Hey! Maybe that can be your step, if you like.

Share this article then register that you shared an article about Fairtrade Fortnight.

As they say, 'Every Step Helps'.

Thanks for any steps that you do take to support Fairtrade Fortnight!


Karen. xx

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