Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Combat the icy winds of February

Feeling the icy winds of February? 
Take a trip around the World to discover something new about the producers who grow some of our favourite staple crops. Fairtrade Fortnight runs until 8th March and if you have a chance, come into the Garden to see the display on the producers of our tea, cocoa and sugar. 

The Fairtrade foundation have also produced a very moving film about how Fairtrade business and specifically the Fairtrade premium paid to Fairtrade Co-operatives has helped to transform thousands of precarious lives around the World. See it here: http://fortnight.fairtrade.org.uk/



You may not know (I didn’t until I started reading about it!) that co-operatives in receipt of the Fairtrade Premium (which is paid on top of the ‘fair’ price producers receive for their crops) vote on how that money is best spent. It could be used to build infrastructure and resources of benefit to the whole community such as the provision of school buildings, medical clinics, ambulances, roads, clean water supplies or sometimes something apparently quite humble like bicycles that allow local children to travel longer distances to attend their schools, or literacy classes for the adults in the co-operative.

It’s easy in the supermarket to look at the few pennies more that Fairtrade products may cost but now I try to look at the products on display and try to imagine that hands that have raised these plants, tended them, watered and weeded them and the better lives they are striving towards for their families.

Families a little closer to home joined us last Wednesday to help make giant tropical fruits, a tropical rainforest vine covered in leaves, plus had a chance to sketch a sumptuous, fruity still life in the Conservatory.

So come into the Glasshouses on a cold day in Oxford and check out the tea, sugar and cocoa plants that we have grown, along with all the other Fairtrade staples such as bananas, pineapple, coffee, cotton and spices! And remember to check out that Fairtrade film! http://fortnight.fairtrade.org.uk/