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Fairtrade Fortnight at West

May 2nd, 2010 by Thalia Kehoe Rowden

Who should pay for the enjoyment I get from chocolate? Me, or a child working in slavery in Ghana, without adequate food or education?

That’s the question raised by global free trading practices, where God’s daughters and sons around the developing world are exploited to produce goods we in the West buy for low, low prices.

If you buy a Nestle Kit-Kat, the price you pay is cheap because the cost of producing the cocoa in it is partly paid by the growers in West Africa, where millions of people are slaves (yes, truly) or working in slave-like conditions on cocoa plantations, not being paid enough to eat properly, let alone get education or healthcare.

If, on the other hand, you buy a more expensive fairtrade chocolate bar, you are paying the whole price of producing it, and the farmers growing the cocoa beans are paid enough to cover their agricultural costs, feed their families well and send their children to school. The fairtrade label also guarantees that the land and ecosystems are better looked after than in other farming.

If this is new to you and you want to know more, start by looking at the Fairtrade Association of Australia and New Zealand (they’re the ones who started Fairtrade Fortnight), or the more objective Wikipedia entry on fair trade.

You might also be interested in the movie Black Gold, which our movie group is watching this Tuesday night. It’s a compelling documentary about how the coffee trade works and why fairtrade is so desperately needed. If you can’t make it on Tuesday night, the Kehoe Rowdens own it, so you can borrow it from us anytime.

If you’d like to change the world one cup of coffee at a time (coffee, chocolate and tea are probably the crops that are most often grown by slaves or exploited farmers), and want to know where to find fairtrade products, see the list below:

  • Inca-fe is a local coffee roastery who supply several New Plymouth cafes and supermarkets. On their website you can see exactly which ones – and yes, they do decaf!
  • Scarborough Fare is the largest Australasian business doing only fairtrade products. All their coffee, chocolate and tea is fairtrade, and most supermarkets stock them (not Pak n Save or Westown Woolworths, but all the others in NP, I think)
  • Trade Aid goes one better, and is a chain of shops run by volunteers, who sell a whole shop worth of things that are all fairly traded. Their groceries in NP include rice, sugar, spices, nuts, flatbreads, olive oil and soap, as well as mountains of chocolate, coffee and tea. But they also do jewellery, furnishings (our laundry basket came from there!), photo frames, journals, musical instruments, kids’ toys, clothing, all sorts. Next time you want to buy a birthday present, go there first and see what you find.
  • For a (limited) list of stockists, the Fairtrade Association has a locator page.
  • For a general idea of where to look, organic shops like Down To Earth on the corner of Devon St W and Morley St or Organic Matters in the Richmond Centre tend to have a large range of products that are also fairtrade (the two principles often go together). In supermarkets that have an ‘organics’ aisle, look there for all sorts of products.

The injustice and exploitation that occurs in the coffee and cocoa trades among others must stop, and who better to make this world a better place than Jesus Christ’s body, the Church? In today’s sermon on the book of Micah (see the sermon page) we explored how our spending reflects our 7 day faith.

Trade Aid and World Vision both offer to register churches as Fairtrade Churches, and the West Board will be proposing at the next Quarterly Meeting that we do so. Click on a few links today so you can make an informed decision.

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  • 1 Murray May 8, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Woolworths West town does actually sell Scarborough fair chocolate, but they don’t sell the tea and coffee — they used to so I can’t understand why they stopped — talk to the manager! Just a thought — don’t forget to support New Zealand made products also! Although they often harder to find and may cost slightly more the products are often superior in quality.

  • […] Fairtrade Fortnight (see the previous post for details), so Jocelyn’s latest letter is to Whittaker’s, the chocolate company, who […]