A Fair Trade stall has been held in the Church for several years. The vision of Fair Trade is to develop a trade system based on justice and sustainability. In this way, it seeks to transform the lives of poor producers in the developing world by enabling them to use their skills and resources to trade their way out of poverty. Fair Trade guarantees that the prices producers are paid covers the full cost of production, including giving a living wage to all workers. Fair Trade accreditation also requires that workers’ safety and environmental standards are met.
Most of the Fair Trade products on the Church stall are sourced from Traidcraft, an organisation which combines a trading company and a development charity, and seeks to provide a Christian response to poverty. Traidcraft builds long-term relationships with producers, and helps communities develop skills and find markets for their products, in addition to guaranteeing fair prices. Hence, buying directly from a fair trade stall rather than a supermarket helps support the wider development action as well as giving a fair price to the producer.
The main aims of running the stall in the Church are to maintain awareness of Fair Trade, and to help support the producers of the goods. In addition, the Church makes a small profit on all the goods sold – approximately 10% for food, 15% for craft items. The profit is then donated back to third world charities. In 2011, we gifted £200 to the Traidcraft development foundation and £200 to Mary’s Meals, a Scottish-based charity which provides a daily meal for school-children in developing countries.
To mark Fairtrade Fortnight in February/March, there is a bake-in using as many fairly-traded ingredients as possible. The home baking products are then sold at the March Fair Trade stall.
You’ll find the stall in the Blair Hall after Church on the first Sunday in each month. As well as being fairly priced, the products are all of high quality, so if you’re not one of the “regulars”, why not give Fair Trade a try?