Saturday, 5 March 2011

One little idea that's changing the world

It doesn't take much to make a difference.

A number of years ago now - I'm not sure quite how many - someone thought: "Wouldn't it be great if poor farmers were able to get a fair price for their produce, so that they could actually provide a better standard of living for their families." So they started campaigning to try and make that dream a reality, and experimented with selling 'Campaign Coffee' as a means of trying to raise awareness and encourage people to support these struggling farmers.

The initial products weren't the best, to be honest, and people tolerated the coffee for the sake of their consciences. But the fight went on, and by and by the quality, the range and the availability of Fair Trade goods increased. Soon it was not just coffee but dried fruits, bananas, chocolate and wine, as well as wood and fabrics.

Nowadays Fair Trade is big business, and many more people are aware of it and actively support it. We are currently in the middle of Fair Trade Fortnight, when public awareness is heightened. Many churches sell Fair Trade goods from their premises, but nowadays you are just as likely to find these goods in high street supermarkets - a testimony to the effectiveness of a simple idea that has changed the way we think about our shopping.

Things have come a long way, but there's still a long way to go. But thanks to the Fair Trade Foundation we can all do our bit to make that dream of a fairer world a reality.