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.’



South West Fairtrade Business Awards 2014

Two Frome businesswomen won Silver at these annual awards: Christina Oswin who gained Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold status during the last 12 months and is developing an entire Fairtrade jewellery collection; and Jo Harrington who runs the Coffee Station cafe and is committed to all things Fairtrade and ethical in her business.

Fairtrade Fortnight 2014
A brilliant display by Oakfield School pupils won them 2 Fairtrade footballs

And a display in Fair Frome & the Town Council’s window highlighted that Fairtrade bananas are NOT more expensive than unfair ones. In fact, on the day this simple shopping task was made, the Fairtrade ones were cheapest:

Chocolate Festival November 2013
Our buried Fairtrade Treasure map to win a hamper of Fairtrade goodies was very popular!

Frome Carnival 2013
The Fairtrade team retain the Best Dressed Collectors cup with Rachel and Judy this time looking super fruity
Fairtrade Fortnight 2013
We ran a pop up cafe on Catherine Hill 
St John’s School children made a marvellous banner to advertise it for us
… and Sainsburys had their own Fairtrade tea party with the Mayor of Frome in attendance…
Fairtrade South West Business Awards

Frome Town Council replaced the town signs and we’re delighted they now feature the Fairtrade logo.


Ruth and Rachel won at cup at 2012 Frome Carnival by dressing up as Fairtrade Tea Ladies and being collectors along the route.






Fairtrade Fortnight 2012 – Every Step Counts


The year 5 & 6 children at Oakfield School drew around their footprints and decorated them with a pledge to raise awareness or to use Fairtrade products etc. 257 more steps were made to add to the national campaign. They used the footprints to make a giant logo in the hall.  
Following this they held a chocolate tasting and made Mother’s Day cards or presents with fairtrade chocolate.

Frome Festival 2011
At the Frome Festival Food Feast in July we served Fairtrade wine, orange juice, local apple juice and water. We were also offering Fairtrade chocolate and snacks!

Fairtrade Fortnight 2011 in Frome

Fairtrade Fortnight 2010 in Frome
Frome people could scarcely have failed to notice the Fairtrade Fortnight Banner which nestled coyly against the scaffolding at the lower end of Stony Street from 22nd February to 7th March this year.


The Fairtrade Frome group were once again actively at work trying to increase awareness and use of Fairtrade products (now more than 4500) in Frome. Now it’s not such uphill work as in 2003 when Frome became only the 11th town in Britain to become a Fairtrade Town. Most people today recognise the logo and many people regularly buy Fairtrade goods.

This year the emphasis was on tea; out of 165 million cups of tea drunk each day in Britain, only 10% are Fairtrade. So the national Fairtrade Foundation proposed the idea of the Big Swap – change your usual brand for a Fairtrade one. To try to encourage Frome residents to do this a variety of activities were planned.  On a sunny, if cold 5th March, our MP, David Heath took tea with the Mayor, Damon Hooton in the Westway Precinct, accompanied by a delicious Fairtrade Chocolate Brownie cake.

And on a grey and bitterly cold Saturday morning, members of Fairtrade Frome attempted to give away FREE tea bags, much to the distrust of some passers-by. Tea for two music was provided by our ‘Char Ladies’, Annabelle (accordion) and Julie (clarinet), with Paul on guitar. Leaflets exhorting people it was Time for a Fairly decent cup of tea, also informed them of Frome’s many cafes who now provide Fairtrade refreshments.Every year Frome’s schools enthusiastically join in the Fairtrade campaign. First & Middle Schools were invited to make collages from tea bags, leaves and stains.

Some held Mad Hatter’s tea parties and others sent photographs of the most unusual place to drink a cuppa to the local press.

Year 10 Food Technology students at Frome College were given a challenge. To plan, source and produce a tea party menu using as many Fairtrade ingredients as possible – the results were impressive…. and delicious. And, as part of the curriculum concerning food choices, eg, Fairtrade rather than non-Fairtrade, organic vs non-organic, the students actively learned about the importance of supporting both producers in the developing world as well as local farmers.


Apple Day
We provided Fairtrade refreshments for the successful Apple Day. There were hot drinks and apple juice as well as very popular Apple Cake made by the children of the Key Centre Nursery.
Go Bananas
Westway Precinct echoed to the sounds of Caribbean songs in praise of Fairtrade Bananas as Fairtrade Fortnight drew to a close The Fairtrade group in Frome, accompanied by the rhythmic singing and playing of Café Caliente – a banana band extraordinaire encouraged members of the public to sample Fairtrade bananas and give their support to the national campaign instigated by the Fairtrade Foundation.  See the band performing in Frome

Banana growers in the Developing World have terrible working conditions and their local environments are often ruined by toxic chemicals while they are kept in poverty by unfair trade rules. Three years ago a Banana grower from the Windward Island, Regina Joseph, visited Frome and told pupils at Hayesdown, Trinity and St Johns’ what a difference Fairtrade had made to her life. She now has a fair price for her bananas, can plan for the future, send her children to school and her community has a playing field and new school roof while she grows without toxic chemicals. Other growers will only have a life like Regina if we demand more Fairtrade bananas so the National campaign aims to tip the balance in the market so that by 2012 over 50% of bananas sold in UK will be Fairtrade ones.
Thanks to generosity of The Co-op, Marks and Spencer. Sainsbury and Somerfield – people in Frome  were being encouraged to change their buying habits. Look for the Fairtrade Logo when you next buy some bananas and know you are making a real difference, not only to the producer’s life, but that of their family and community as well.
Ready, Steady – Fairtrade – Cook
Following last year’s success of the Fairtrade version of Ready Steady Cook, on Wednesday 25 February, members of Fairtrade Frome organised a repeat performance at Frome Community College, the first Fairtrade event for Fairtrade Fortnight 2009.
Students and staff from the college worked with well-known local chefs to cook against the clock using Fairtrade and locally produced ingredients. Sarah Hillman, of African Kitchen, who has appeared on Come Dine With Me on BBC television, worked with Jo Love and Ian Carr, both of whom teach at Frome College. Her opponent was Ronnie Bonetti, Head Chef at Babington House, whose assistants were Jordan Andrews, Year 9, the winner and Harry Cornish, Year 11, runner up in this year’s Rotary Master Chef competition.
At the start of the contest, the two students presented Ronnie Bonetti with a Fairtrade cotton bag containing Fairtrade Chocolate, pineapple, walnuts and ginger biscuits. The teachers challenged Sarah Hillman to produce a savoury dish from Fairtrade rice, mango, cashew nuts and local chicken from Cayford’s Butchers.
This year’s compere was Keith Brindle, who was a teacher contestant last year. He interviewed the chefs during the cook-off, discovering that Ronnie Bonetti had trained in Australia, had then worked in the Caribbean and come to England to work at the River Café, before moving to Babington last year. While distracting Sarah Hillman from the cut and thrust of the competition, he found out that she had always enjoyed cooking and thought nothing of rustling up a meal for a 100 people. Most people in Frome will have sampled her unique east African dishes at Frome Festival’s Food Fest.
As the event took place during the last hour of school time, it was watched by an enthusiastic audience of students, staff, Principal Wendy Missons, local people and Cllr Blanche Farley, former Mayor, who was very keen to sample the dishes produced by the two teams. Keith led the audience in a noisy final countdown to the 30 minute challenge between the competitors. Then came the vote from the audience…. It was a close run thing, but in the end it was declared that Sarah and her teachers were the winners for their curried chicken, coconut and rice, which was accompanied by a mango salad. The runners-up made two delicious desserts: individual caramelised pineapple tart tatin and ginger cheesecakes.
Dinah Bardgett ended the entertaining afternoon by thanking everyone who had given their time, energy, help and hard work to the event: all the participants, Su King and her Food Technology team, the Media Arts team and the main provider of ingredients, the Co-op in Culverhill, Frome.
Fairtrade Frome Book Launch
Fairtrade Frome is an attractive, illustrated short history of Frome as a Fairtrade town. It was published in November 2008 by Food Frome. The launch was atended by Fred Rolfe of Food Frome and David Heath MP (Somerton and Frome). The book includes an insert of Fairtrade recipes by Alison Charlesworth. It is available at £1 from Hunting Raven Bookshop in Cheap Street, Frome, or direct from Fairtrade Frome.
Frome Directory 2008
The Frome Fairtrade Directory is all about consumer power. Your power to spend the money in your pocket in a way that directly changes the lives of poorer people in other countries. Please support the businesses and organisations in this directory and ensure that producers in developing countries get a fair deal.