Frome Chocolate Festival celebrated its 8th anniversary this year and we were there to promote the Fairtrade message.
Every year is a fantastic event – a fabulous collection of Chocolatiers, Artisan cake makers, raw chocolate experts, confectioners and sweet makers. There were chocolate bars, truffles, unusual chocolate gifts and seasonal delights.
This year the event also highlighted and supported Frome Children’s Festival, which provided activities to keep the younger visitors happy. Local charity WHY (We Hear You) also held a chocolate raffle and sold Christmas cards.
We ran some fun competitions – guess the number of Fairtrade chocolate coins in the jar and a taste test – to see if people could tell the difference between fairtrade and non-fairtrade chocolate. Thankfully, Fairtrade won!
We will be back there next year, so watch this space! Find out who stocks Fairtrade chocolate here!
As part of the ‘Don’t ditch Fairtrade’ weekend campaign on 28th October, Frome residents delivered a petition to Steve Jones, Sainsbury’s Frome Manager to challenge Sainsbury’s decision to abandon the Fairtrade mark on some of its own-brand tea in favour of its own scheme.
Fairtrade Frome members Judy Annan and Ann Taylor who organised the event, said: “It’s estimated nearly a quarter of a million tea farmers and workers will be affected by this move. We wanted to bring attention to the residents of Frome the ‘Don’t Ditch Fairtrade’ campaign and the fact that Sainsbury’s is changing their stance to Fairtrade. British tea drinkers account for three-quarters of Fairtrade tea sales globally, with Sainsbury’s as the world’s largest retailer of Fairtrade. Sainsbury’s has previously been a true leader in the retail sector with their support of Fairtrade products, making a real difference to the lives of workers and their families in some of the world’s poorest countries. We’d like them to reconsider this step away from Fairtrade for their own-brand tea.”
Fairtrade guarantees tea producers receive an additional premium payment – on top of the price for their tea – to invest in their businesses and communities as they see fit. Frome campaigners are concerned that tea farmers will lose control of the social premium they would earn under Sainsbury’s alternative scheme, with suppliers instead having to apply to a UK-based board for their funding.
The protests are part of a nationwide campaign supported by CAFOD, Christian Aid, The Women’s Institute, Traidcraft Exchange and Tearfund calling on the supermarket to reconsider this pilot scheme.
Fairtrade Frome also said stated “We’re worried that standards will be controlled by Sainsbury’s – and are not set independently. Tea farmers will not be represented in the scheme’s governance – a stark contrast to Fairtrade certification where producers are part of deciding how standards are set, monitored and reviewed.”
Fairtrade Frome was established as the 11th Fairtrade town in Britain more than 15 years ago and has encouraged Sainsbury’s from the very beginning to include Fairtrade goods in their store.
Good news from the Fairtrade Foundation. It was announced today that all tea served at National Trust properties will now be Clipper Fairtrade.
With around 22 million visitors per year this will make a huge difference to the lives of Clipper tea farmers.
An excellent excuse for a visit and a cup of tea.
Sit down for breakfast and stand up for farmers
Martin Luther King once said “Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world”. Today, maybe you had tea from India, coffee from Ethiopia or bananas from Colombia? Millions of those farmers who grow the food we enjoy still have a season of the year when their families go hungry themselves – the “times of silence” or “the thin months”.
It’s easy to make a difference to this situation yourself: simply choose to buy Fairtrade when you can. It’s Fairtrade Fortnight and people all over the country and making their breakfasts count this year. Already 12,285 have registered their Fairtrade breakfast event.
The Fairtrade Frome committee couldn’t all meet in the morning so opted for a 5pm breakfast at The Three Swans where they enjoyed Fairtrade tea and coffee, delicious chocolate cake, dates, bananas, perhaps even a cheeky whisky it being a late, late breakfast!
Here’s the difference it makes to Foncho Cantillo, a banana farmer in Colombia:
‘We experienced very difficult times when we weren’t in Fairtrade… the banana business barely provided enough for basic meals. It was very worrying to have children and know you couldn’t provide the opportunity for the life they deserve. Being in Fairtrade makes me very happy, knowing that there are opportunities to achieve some of the goals I had planned.’