Thursday, February 21, 2008

Go Bananas

The visit of Jose, banana producer from the Dominican Republic, draws closer. Queen's Campus of Durham University here in Stockton is hosting the evening. Their catering department along with 2 of their Fairtrade suppliers are sponsoring the refreshments. Invitations are going out all over the Tees Valley and we hope to fill the lecture theatre for the evening. For any reader who hasn't yet seen an invitation or a poster the details are as follows:
Venue - Ebsworth building, Durham University, Stockton
Date - Monday March 3rd
Time - 7.30 pm
Admission - Free, but there will be a stall selling Fairtrade goods from all over the world and the chance to enter a prize quiz.

This evening I finally got chance to watch the TV programme which I'd recorded earlier in the week showing 3 school children visiting India to see at first hand how non-Fairtrade cotton is grown and converted into garments, then to see the Fairtrade organic version. Their reactions to the working conditions spoke volumes. Seeing and hearing them debate the issues was inspiring. At the end of their visit they had succeeded in having sample shirts made - one in Fairtrade cotton at a rural workshop and one in organic cotton made in a factory which was aiming for an Ethical Factory certificate. Each one would cost under £5, but pay the workforce and the farmer a reasonable amount. The youngsters quite understandably asked, "if we can do it why not the big shops?" I know that when big shops are involved there are overheads which weren't costed into this exercise, but the young people were asking valid questions, and the run up to Fairtrade Fortnight is a very good time to air them.

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