A thought from our minister…
I wonder how many items in your shopping basket carry the Fairtrade symbol. Do you make a conscious effort to source Fairtrade goods? Like a lot of campaigns, it is easy for it to become too familiar and for assumptions to be made. This year Fairtrade fortnight coincides with the start of Lent which made me wonder if we should try and make our Lenten exercise one of positively seeking out Fairtrade versions of the things we regularly use. Perhaps rather than giving up chocolate we pledge to only eat Fairtrade chocolate during Lent.
Fairtrade is about paying a realistic price for the goods we need. In days gone by when all goods were produced within national boundaries and people bartered with each other there was no need for trade justice. Now we buy our goods from a supermarket who barter on our behalf and we revel in our good buys and our ability to buy more but at what cost and to whom. Trade justice is a complicated issue involving subsidies, embargoes and unfair trade agreements but the bottom line is that the vast majority of our everyday goods (luxuries to those in developing lands) are purchased at rock bottom prices and sold on with an ever increasing profit margin. Fairtrade seeks to redress the balance and ensure that the producers are paid a fair price for their goods. This means that Fairtrade goods are often more expensive that our normal brands but that is a realistic price. These days most supermarkets have some Fairtrade items and it is important that we support this as only demand will ensure the continuation. Personally I would encourage you to visit the Coop, who have taken Fairtrade on board to the extent that their own brand chocolate is all fairly traded, and they produce their own Fairtrade coffee, the full range instant a filter, standard and decaffeinated at prices which reflect the goods and not the speciality. They also have fairtrade wine, tea, and some biscuits. The more we support this the more they will stock. We have the power.
Micah 6.11 reads ‘Can I tolerate wicked scales and a bag of dishonest weights?’ The Lord’s answer is no, and as Christians our answer should be the same.
If you would like to take this one step further then you might like to apply the LOAF principle to all your purchases during Lent – Local, Organic, Animal friendly and Fairtrade. Now very few items will be all of these things but if we seek out local produce first, organic where possible, animal friendly where appropriate, and Fairtrade where local is not available, we will be doing our bit for Climate Change, the health of our planet, the welfare of those animals bred for the food chain and global farmers. At the same time we will raising our awareness over our choices and how we live in partnership with creation.
Love and prayers,