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We're halfway through Fairtrade Fortnight so we thought it was worth a mention. Even though the Fairtrade quality mark is aimed at protecting producers in the global South of products like tea, coffee, chocolate, bananas and sugar, their principles are very close to our hearts and can be applied locally in much the same way.
This year, fairtrade fortnight is very much focused on climate crisis, emphasising how the root cause of the inability to adapt to and mitigate climate change is poverty. More money in the hands of farmers is needed if they are to adapt and survive the climate crisis. In fact, small-scale regenerative farming methods actually have the ability to cool the planet by absorbing carbon and restoring ecosystems. Farmer poverty is a very real thing in the UK today. It looks a bit different to the plight of cocoa farmers, but has much the same devastating impact on the environment. This is why we are so farmer-focused in the way we operate. Because we know that farming has the power to make or break our natural world. Only if they are properly supported through fair pay can farmers protect wildlife, renew soils and regenerate the land.
Here are two ways making a commitment to buying your fresh produce from veg schemes and farmers' markets like ours has a positive impact on fair trade:
Increased demand for particular produce regardless of the time of year (we’re looking at you, avocados, asparagus, tomatoes etc!) contributes to waste, environmental damage and worker exploitation. Changing our menu with the seasons allows farmers to grow different crops throughout the year, which in turn means farm work can be offered year-round, sustaining a local workforce instead of relying on seasonal migrant workers.
Our producers are able to farm sustainably and pay their workers a living wage because they sell their produce via the veg scheme and farmers' market. Trading directly with farmers gives them more control over the prices and fewer middlemen means more of the money goes to the farmers. For every £1 spent with us around 50% is returned to our farmers, as opposed to as little as 8% with the supermarkets.
Fairtrade fortnight runs from 21 February - 6 March. You can tune into the online Choose the World You Want festival for talks, panel discussions and a unique insight into the work and struggles of the incredible farmers who nourish and enrich our lives.