Shoppers urged to think of producers
If everyone switched to Fairtrade products at home and at work, world poverty would be dramatically reduced through economic justice
Ashford Fairtrade Fortnight has featured a host of events to highlight the importance of offering producers a fair price for their goods
SHOPPERS in Ashford are being asked to reflect on how their habits affect producers, communities and the environment.
The theme of this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight is “Ashford to Africa” to drive home the message that giving people the chance to make a decent living applies as much to farmers in Kent as to those in the Third World.
Businesses, schools and many other groups have been getting involved with the campaign to help Ashford become a Fairtrade Town.
The Ashford Fairtrade Steering Group has been organising the two-week initiative which began at Brook Primary School when children were taught how uneven division of wealth in the world can lead to starvation in many countries.
Fairtrade is a set of interna- tionally-recognised criteria which help ensure greater dayto-day security for producers, as well as good quality for the consumer.
Producers must adhere to rules which include no exploitation, no discrimination, and no child labour, as well as follow environmental and anti-corruption policies.
Andrew Hind, spokesman for the Ashford steering group, said: “Fairtrade products are high quality and can cost less than everyday items that do not allow producers to make a decent living.
“If everyone switched to Fairtrade products at home and at work, world poverty would be dramatically reduced through economic justice.
“Ask for Fairtrade because it really does matter to someone, somewhere, even though you might never meet them.
“The more people who purchase Fairtrade items the fewer Africans die of starvation.
“It really is a direct correlation.”
And people in Ashford have been making a stand over the past two weeks to show their support for Fairtrade and Produced in Kent products, which help small producers.
Dr Hilary Moorby, chairman of the Ashford Area Committee of Kent Parish Councils, said: “Most people know about the farmers’ markets and farm shops in many of the parishes in the area.
“What we would now like to see in mainstream availability and use of Kent and Fairtrade products in businesses, schools, and as private consumers.
“Changing our preferences and shopping habits is essential to the livelihoods of countless producers in Kent and around the world.”
Numerous businesses in and around Ashford have been getting involved over the past two weeks.
Staff at the Conningbrook hotel made cakes for guests using only Fairtrade and Produced in Kent products.
Part of the Shepherd Neame chain of pubs, the Conningbrook is already a firm support of Kent beers and stocks Fairtrade tea, coffee and chocolate.
Utopia bar in Ashford town centre has long been a supporter of fair trade, serving Fairtrade cocktails as part of the campaign.
And Douy Douys Deli dished up delicious drinks and traybakes using ethically-sourced products to rangers at Poulton Wood.
The Barbary Lion Project at Port Lympne is an example of how Fairtrade can also help support wildlife conservation
Poulton Wood volunteers take a Fairtrade break: from left, Lisa Fraser, Joanne Burgess, Ben Markham, project manager Lynn Cook, Ian Carle, Neil Showell and Stuart Cross