Fair Trade for farmers, animals and the planet?

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Maya Gold - the 1st UK product to get the Fairtrade Mark 1994Jason Ball gave a presentation for 150 students at Westgate School, Slough, today – all about fair trade, globalisation and farming. Students discovered that for every £1 they spend on bananas, about 10 pence might go to the grower. They learned how a cocoa growers’ cooperative in Ghana work with Fair Trade chocolate makers to get a stable price for their beans. Read more…   

Farmers in the UK can sometimes struggle to get a fair price too, highlighted by the recent campaign by pork producers – “Pigs are Worth it.” Sheepdrove Organic Farm sell direct to customers, to be sure of a better price for our top quality produce. And we have a good relationship with our supermarket customer, Waitrose.

The pupils joined in with what they already knew about fair trade, but we also widened their perspective. The impact of our food system in terms of habitat destruction, food security and greenhouse gases are big issues they probably had not thought of before. Experts say that the worst affected by climate change will be the poorest people. There is also a global grain shortage. What the world eats truly matters.

“Globalisation and industrialisation of the food system means that nowadays, you can’t separate what happens here, and what happens abroad, it’s all connected.” said Jason.

“One of the lasting effects of the session will be for chickens,” remarks Jason. “Pupils saw a picture of a day-old chick, followed by a picture of factory farmed chickens, and then the opposite end of the scale, photos of Sheepdrove’s organic free-range chickens. I asked the students ‘what would you do with a day old chick?‘ The best choice was obvious.”

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