Colombian Fairtrade Producer meets Peterborough’s Finest

DSCF0374 - CopyThe face and voice of the Fairtrade Fortnight 2014 Campaign, Foncho a Fairtrade banana producer from Colombia, met with Stewart Jackson, MP and school children from all over the Peterborough area last Friday at the first ever Fairtrade School’s Conference.

School children from over 20 local schools came together at Ken Simpson Community School to learn about Fairtrade, what it is, what the benefits are and how they can get involved and help support producers like Foncho.

Stewart Jackson MP opened the Conference by challenging the children to think about where all their food and clothes come from. A strong supporter of Fairtrade, Mr Jackson said, He urged the children to take back to their schools the message of Fairtrade so other children can understand the importance of it and be part of changing people’s lives for the better.

The Fairtrade Peterborough Group, who organised and ran the event, was thrilled to have Foncho head up the day’s activities. Foncho started by describing banana production on his family plantation and how they nurture and tend the plants to ensure a premium product is grown. He went on to explain how Fairtrade had benefited his family and community. “Being part of Fairtrade and getting a fair price for our produce has meant that I have been able to save money to send my children to school. But not only that, we are able to benefit the whole community as we provide work. Since being part of Fairtrade our output has more than doubled and we have been able to invest in better machinery and better offices.” 

Foncho well and truly brought the Fairtrade message to life for the children, all of whom seemed to have a fantastic day. They all took part in a range of activities to learn about Fairtrade bananas, cotton and cocoa.

Olivia from Ken Stimpson School had certainly got the message when asked what she thought Fairtrade was about, “It’s about being fair, about helping people so they can have a better quality of life.”

Chris Dakin a teacher from Winyates School believes his pupils benefited enormously from the day, saying, “It’s definitely been a worthwhile exercise and certainly improved the children’s understanding of Fairtrade.”

Many of the schools who took part are looking to start the process of becoming Fairtrade Schools, which in turn will play a part in helping to make Peterborough a Fairtrade city, which is the overall goal of the Fairtrade Peterborough Group. The Group is putting on another event just for teachers on Wednesday, 26th March at Van Hage’s to help support them through the process.

John Turner from the Fairtrade Peterborough Group, said “The day has been a huge success, 80 children now know more about Fairtrade than they did before the day started, if they go back and tell their friends and they all start buying chocolate and sweets with the Fairtrade Mark on, then it’s been worthwhile.” John went on to say, “The Group’s overall aim is to achieve Fairtrade status for the city and this is just one initiative towards making that happen. We’ve got lots to do and days like this encourage us to continue with our efforts.”

Foncho closed the day by saying of all those involved in the day, “Without the people who have volunteered to do this and who have big hearts, we would be nowhere; it has been an honour to meet people who make a difference.”

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Posted on 10/03/2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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