Fairtrade Fortnight – Will You Make the Big Swap?

Fairtrade Fortnight was launched today with the Big Swap campaign, encouraging individuals, businesses and communities to swap their everyday products for a Fairtrade version. The main aim is to get the nation converting to Fairtrade tea, a simple but effective move to help tea producers in developing countries.

I felt rather smug as I enjoyed my Fairtrade muesli this morning and shunned the slightly dubious teabags at work in favour of (a genuinely better tasting) Fairtrade cuppa. My lunchbox was complete with Fairtrade snacks, and a sandwich made with local cheese and some homemade chutney. I felt I had done rather well on my swap thus far. However, there have been a few challenges along the way.

I picked up an ‘English Toffee Sauce’ last week, only to discover it was made in New Zealand, and even the block of cheddar cheese in the fridge was only packaged in the UK, and clearly didn’t originate from its namesake town. The consequences of refusing to compromise on my aims to eat only Fairtrade or local products also left me with a slightly meagre dinner this evening, watching the others enjoy something that looked far more appetising.

However, this has pushed me to be a bit more creative with my recipes and resulted in some great Scottish salmon fish cakes last week, and a superb (if I do say so myself) Chocolate and Ginger cake I baked for my grandfather’s birthday. The cupboards are now well stocked with Traidcraft products after we almost bought out a Traidcraft stall yesterday, much to their delight. Tomorrow I plan to raid the co-op store and the health foods store in town so I’m not left envying other’s food again.

I feel I should also underline that I am not doing this swap to encourage a boycott of all other products, I recognise for example that the producers of green beans in Kenya (although not Fairtrade certified) rely on the income they earn from exporting their products to our shores. The purpose of this experiment is to explore the journey our food takes, and to explore some local recipes using fruit and vegetables that is in season. It is also a great opportunity to raise awareness of Fair Trade products – of which there is a great variety, and of course to support local farmers and independent stores.

What can you swap?

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Published in: on February 22, 2010 at 8:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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