Many events for Fairtrade campaign

SIR - Fairtrade Fortnight 2009 begins on Monday. From February 23 until March 8, the Fairtrade groups across North Devon are organising and hosting a series of events culminating in joining in a UK-wide record attempt for the number of (Fairtrade) bananas

SIR - Fairtrade Fortnight 2009 begins on Monday. From February 23 until March 8, the Fairtrade groups across North Devon are organising and hosting a series of events culminating in joining in a UK-wide record attempt for the number of (Fairtrade) bananas eaten in a 24-hour period. This year's campaign slogan is Make it Happen - Choose Fairtrade. Fairtrade is needed now more than ever. However hard you might have been hit by the credit crunch and economic downturn, the effect on developing countries is much worse. Two billion people - a third of humanity - still live on less than $2 a day, and it is unfair trading rules that keep them in poverty. By choosing Fairtrade you are triggering positive change for small farmers and producers in developing countries, empowering them to make changes in their lives and environment.At the beginning of February, amidst the snow, Traidcraft held a series of presentations around the country to celebrate their 30th year as a Fair Trade company. Many people at the event could remember the first catalogue - a simple photocopied affair illustrating (with hand drawings!) the few jute products that were available to order: bags and hanging basket sikas. Some even admitted to having a copy at home! Fairtrade has been around all my life and is a huge part of what I do and what I believe in. It is part of the curriculum and part of our shopping baskets. We all benefit from the skills and flavours brought to us from global producers and it is important that we continue to support then now more than ever before.There are now more than 7 million farmers, workers and dependents benefiting from Fairtrade. You can still buy products from Jute Works in Bangladesh, but there are now more than 600 other producer organisations supplying Fairtrade products to 52 countries across the globe. In the UK over 3000 products carry the Fairtrade Mark. There are more than 300 Fairtrade Towns (including Bideford, Barnstaple and Torrington), Fairtrade churches and schools, Fairtrade islands and counties (including Devon), and in 2007 over �480 million was spent on Fairtrade products - a figure that is increasing year on year.Fairtrade Fortnight events kick off with a launch event in Torrington Square on Saturday (February 21) 10-12am. There will be a new Fairtrade Guide to Torrington, the presentation of Fairtrade County Certificates, a stall, free samples and hot drinks. Lots more is going on: for a list of events see the Gazette What's On Diary, website ( or go to To get involved in helping and supporting your Fairtrade Towns contact myself (01805 622143) or Ann Davis (01237 425883)Emma Van-Huysse, Torrington.Monday 23rd Feb to Saturday 7th March: Bideford Prize Competition: How many 'out of place' Fairtrade items can you spot in the shops around Mill Street and the High Street? Entry forms and details from Walter Henry's Bookshop in the High Street. Prizes kindly donated by Clovelly Road Co-op.Thursday 26th Feb: The Yes Men (film): 8pm Plough Arts Centre �5/�4.50/�4 A real life charade making a mockery of the WTO and corporate leaders Sunday 1st March : Fairtrade Stall and coffee: 10am Scout Hut, Torrington(following the Catholic church service) 2nd -6th March: Best Dressed Banana CompetitionLocal schools competition to decorate a Fairtrade banana! Judged in each school on 6th March. The winning bananas will be on display at the Plough on 7th March. Come and vote for the overall Best Dressed Banana (votes will be counted and winners announced at 12 noon)Friday 6th March: Fairtrade Olives from Palestine: Presentations by a Palestinian olive farmer growing for Fairtrade. There are two opportunities to find out what Fairtrade farming means.3pm at 1646 Restaurant Torrington �2.50 includes coffee and cake.7pm at Bideford Baptist Church, Mill Street. Free event There will be refreshments and also the short film "Bonita - Ugly Bananas" - see details below.Friday 6th March: Fairtrade Fashion show: 7:30pm Howe Church, TorringtonNomads, Traidcraft, Bishopston clothes and accessories. �3 including glass of wine. Plus a short presentation about Fairtrade bananas.GO BANANASFrom 12 noon on Friday 6th to 12 noon on Saturday 7th March everyone can join in the Nationwide attempt on the world banana eating recordCome and eat a Fairtrade banana at Bideford Library, during opening hours. Or at Fair's Fair, Bear Street, Barnstaple, where there will be banana cakes and cookies. You can also join in at Bideford Baptist Church from 7pm on Friday and there will be a Fairtrade Banana chocolate fondue on Saturday at the Plough Arts Centre (10am - 12 noon) as well as a Fairtrade Stall with lots of new Traidcraft fair trade products.The banana is the most popular fruit in the world, but satisfying the world's appetite leads to the exploitation of many plantation workers, the majority of whom do not earn enough to live on and support their families. Jan Nimmo's documentary film Bonita - Ugly Bananas demonstrates dramatically the conditions at a plantation in Ecuador and this film can be seen in Bideford (at theBaptist Church) on Friday March 6th . This is a shocking but informative short film. Fairtrade banana co-operatives have a care for the social and economic welfare of their workers. Fairtrade minimum prices are calculated to at least cover average local costs of production. This price can be double what producers normally receive. Please join in and support these events. There's lots more information available at And if you would like to get involved in helping and supporting your Fairtrade Towns contact Emma Van-Huysse (Torrington 01805-622143) or Ann Davis (Bideford 01237- 425883)Buy Fairtrade where you can, tell your friends about Fairtrade, ask for Fairtrade refreshments when you are out. Make a positive change to disadvantaged producers: Make it happen. Choose Fairtrade.

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