Author Archives: Mike King

University of Bath’s Fairtrade Fortnight celebrations 2020 – Part 3 of 3

Gloria Maria Talavera Gonzalez. Fairtrade Coffee & Cocoa Farmer & Women’s Coordinator Producer from the SOPPEXCCA Cooperative, Nicaragua.

She has been farming cocoa and coffee in Corinta Finca for over 25 years. Fairtrade has enabled:-

  • Financing a scholarship for her son to study agricultural engineering in Germany for a year, helping to keep young people involved with the land.
  • Fairtrade provided credit for replacing all her coffee plants when the fungal leaf rust disease (La Roya), decimated her and neighbouring crops in 2013.
  • Her son and daughter help on the plantation at weekends, removing poor quality coffee beans and cocoa pods that not growing well.

Gloria stressed the importance of Fairtrade especially in the areas of:

  1. Developing and spreading women’s gender equality, men and women are paid the same price for their coffee. A separate women’s coffee brand has developed over the last few years called “Sister”.
  2. Through Fairtrade producer cooperatives, larger amounts of coffee and cocoa can be exported, on newly surfaced roads, partly paid for by the Fairtrade Premium.
  3. The organic coffee and cocoa meet the exacting Fairtrade Certificate Standards and requirements which are regularly inspected and so have consumer confidence.
  4. Agricultural technicians and agronomists supervise the Cooperatives’ plantations.
  5. SOPPEXCCA’s farmers work with the environment. They are encouraged to grow other crops, both as for healthy consumption, but also for selling in local markets and even exporting. Bananas, orchard fruit, maize and organic honey, are crucial cash crops as well as providing vital vitamins for families and for food security.
  6. Nicaragua is well off for water and forests, but climate change of just a few degrees can have a dramatic impact on coffee production, the main cash crop. Fortunately, cocoa grows well in the fertile, volcanic soil and fills in most of the income gap. Plots devoted to bananas, mangoes, and other diversified fruit provide more than self-sufficiency – diverse income streams. Annatto is an orange-red food coloring or condiment made from the seeds of the achiote tree.
  7. A group of enterprising women, using part of the Fairtrade Premium have utilized local organic beekeeping to combine the honey with the maize to produce a grain energy bar. They were aided by marketing help from a female entrepreneur in Ireland who advised on marketing. These energy bars are also sold in their plantation cafe. Unsold fruit along with washed coffee sludge is dried and bagged for organic fertilizer for Cooperative members.
  8. Fairtrade Premiums have been invested in community health projects over the years, including a free health clinic for workers and regular cancer checks.
  9. A holistic approach is adopted with guaranteed Fairtrade coffee and cocoa prices ironing out fluctuations in world prices and allowing farmers to plan for the future for cash crops. The Fairtrade Premium also encourages fledgling income diversity and local ripple effect industries to provide new revenue streams, some of which are very intuitive.

Notes Produced by:
Mike King
Chairman, Wycombe Fairtrade     

University of Bath’s Fairtrade Fortnight celebrations 2020 – Part 2 of 3

Louise Whitaker; Group Support Manager, Bewley’s UK

Visit to the SOPPEXCCA Cooperative in Nicaragua and Unlocking the power of Women in Coffee.

Louise began her presentation by stating that over 125 million people in 70 countries worldwide rely on coffee as the main cash crop. However, the coffee plant does not like quick changes in growing conditions and is largely intolerant of progressive temperature increases. Coffee is also very labour intensive and prone to pests and fungal diseases. Coffee seedlings take 4 to 5 years to produce in nurseries before any coffee cherries grow on the bush. The first crop is discarded before the best cherries mature. When ripe, the cherries are hand-picked, sorted, and then de-pulped to obtain the two green coffee beans in each cherry. The green coffee beans are then place in the sun to dry for 3 – 7 days and  turned regularly.

Women provide much of the labour in what are often male-dominated societies, as well as looking after the children, cooking, collecting water, shopping, or running small businesses in local markets

Louise referred to a newly published ICO document examining gender equality and climate change.

When women have access to finance, credit, training, and are involved in the decision making processes of the cooperative, women tend to save more money than men as well as direct more of that finance to providing for the family.

Members of the SOPPEXCCA Cooperative pay to be part of the Fairtrade auditing scheme to have the certification logo on their coffee and cocoa products. Fairtrade membership entitlements include:-

  • Gender equality
  • Equal pay for men and women
  • One member one vote on business and community project decisions
  • Access to credit – (a holistic approach is taken)
  • Women managers and leaders act as “role models” in the cooperative expanding the narrative
  • Money provides for school bags, paper, pens,  and child uniforms even though state education is free
  • Children can then aspire to colleges and universities for professional training
  • With credit, women can start their own coffee or small businesses.

e.g. women collect organic honey from bees and combine this with home grown maize to produce energy bars, which are sold locally in markets, shops and even exported

  • This in turn provides access to more credit e.g. $10,000 for marketing of biscuits and energy bars. A wheel begins to role and gather pace, so creating a new mini-enterprise

Positive factors

There is a clear role for women in businesses as well as community, empowering and enhancing their status, closing the gender gap. Women work hard in the production of coffee but can create quite innovative enterprises which diversify the economy based on local conditions and advantages. Women understand the relationship of their work with the land and the environment and can help fight climate change.

During her 2018 visit to SOPPEXCCA Cooperative, Louise met a number of women with interesting stories to tell about improving their economic opportunities  as well social and community benefits, once they have access to credit, they become entrepreneurs and role models. Money has also come from Melissa Gates and the Hilary Clinton Foundations.

Greta: 90% of her income was directed to her family, improving diet, health and education opportunities. She works in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Farmers would lose money if their coffee were not sold under Fairtrade terms. Being involved in both business and community decision making means inclusion and empowerment for women in SOPPEXCCA. The current General manager of the cooperative is Fatima Ismael, who is responsible for over 800 individual coffee farmers.

Rosa: listed a number of advantages since she became a smallholder. Land can now be registered in a woman’s name, and encourages economic diversity and the setting up of micro-businesses apart from growing the cash crop – coffee. Gender equality is established as well as young people can see the improvements and realize that farming can offer a living wage and a future.

Maxima: Her coffee is sold under the Women’s coffee label – “Sisters. The Fairtrade money earned is allocated to school equipment for her children. With the low coffee prices, she has stated growing cocoa as a main cash crop. Cocoa benefits include:-

  • Stable higher income than coffee and is viewed as a “buffer” crop
  • Grows all the year round
  • Provides more money out of the coffee harvest season
  • Has started to make her own chocolate bars
  • Cocoa grows well at lower levels on land formally used for coffee production
  • She is seen as a role model for other female producers
  • Mutual skill sharing and utilizing cross-product marketing.

      Myrtle: She established a small cafe on her coffee growing land and taught herself to become a     barista by studying at weekends.

Climate change has a human cost as well as an immediate environmental crop.

Notes Produced by:
Mike King
Chairman, Wycombe Fairtrade     

University of Bath’s Fairtrade Fortnight celebrations 2020 – Part 1 of 3

Barney Smyth; Acting Senior Partnership Manager, Fairtrade Foundation. 1.45 pm.

Explored 2 Questions about Fairtrade.

What makes Fairtrade certification unique?

Why do Fairtrade producers, buyers and end consumers have faith in the Fairtrade logo.

  1. Minimum price for a product e.g. coffee is paid to producers which irons out the world market price peaks and troughs. Eliminating these price fluctuations means that producers can plan ahead, and Fairtrade buyers know that coffee has been grown on Fairtrade terms. Currently Fairtrade farmers are paid $1.40 per pound of coffee. The current world price is between $1.00 and $1.20. This minimum price guarantee is paid when coffee prices rise. The Fairtade price is always 20 cents above the global coffee price. This Fairtrade price covers the costs of sustainable and environmentally friendly production.
  2. Fairtrade farmers and producers receive an additional Fairtrade Premium on top of the selling price. This is usually another 1% of the value of the products. The producer cooperative workers, who know their own needs, can then decide to allocate this funding to:
    – social projects
    – improving community infrastructure
    – Investing in a health centre
    – buying in training and education
    – building schools
    – improving their businesses with new equipment
    – Workers are thus empowered and can take control of their own livelihoods.
  3. The Fairtrade logo is a recognised kitemark and reflects uniform assessment by FLOCERT, the independent WFTO body that assesses farmers; producers; suppliers; traders; and wholesalers that rigorous standards have been met and that regular inspections are made to trace and prove product traceability.

Barney Smith presented some interesting Fairtrade Foundation Statistics –

Fairtrade has been going for over 25years
– 90% of people in the UK recognize the Fairtrade logo
– 87% of people in the UK trust the logo
– 76% of people in the UK care about the third party/independent certification process
– 76% of people in the UK care about Fairtrade producers and farmers
– 76% of people in the UK actively seek and choose Fairtrade products

Why Fairtrade makes such a big difference?

  • Producers and farmers have a guaranteed income
  • They have decent working conditions
  • There is no child or forced labour
  • Men and women receive equal pay, empowering both genders
  • Fairtrade suppliers establish long-term working relationships with producer cooperatives
  • There are social, economic, and environmental benefits of belonging to a Fairtrade cooperative
  • The cost of belonging Fairtrade certified cooperative includes many other benefits such as technical and agricultural training  for farmers and a chance to belong to network groups

Fairtrade Coffee Cooperative Statistics 2019

  • There are 582 Fairtrade coffee cooperatives located in Latin America, Africa, and SE Asia
  • 762,000 farmers growing and selling Fairtrade coffee.
  • 86% of all Fairtrade coffee originates from Central and South America
  • Fairtrade coffee production is worth in excess of 84 million Euros.
  • 18% of Fairtrade coffee growers are women.

In a short accompanying video, one coffee grower stated that “Coffee is our life”, and more farmers need to sell coffee on Fairtrade terms where the environmental costs are factored in to the end price. The guaranteed price of Fairtrade coffee irons out the huge fluctuations in the market price.

“Climate change is a huge threat to livelihoods” but that farmers will have to adapt.

Notes Produced by:
Mike King
Chairman, Wycombe Fairtrade

Minutes of 7th January 2020

Location:

Micklefield Library, Micklefield Road

Those present

Mike King
Jhon Munoz
Sarah Moroz
Tony Thornby
Sheena King
Ivan Cicin-Sain – Wycombe Friends of the Earth
Steve Morton – Wycombe Friends of the Earth “
Angus Massie
Bob Smith

Air raid cafe seems to be still open.

MK – also went to the Coffee Lounge. Although they don’t have the Fairtrade logo, their coffee is ethically sourced. MK spoke to the manager.

The FT renewal certificate was shown round. MK will put it in a photo frame ready for the presentation event.

TT – Wycombe District Council will be dissolving in April.

MK – Matt Knight thinks that there will be a Town Council for Wycombe. MK met Trevor Snaith in the Coffee Lounge and he thought the same.

I C-S – Wyc FOE are trying to launch a climate action group.

St M – Nationally FOE has a climate action group which feeds into government and includes individuals who are not FOE members.

I C-S – Wyc FOE are trying to form an alliance of individuals/groups to campaign for action on climate change.

St M – there is a Facebook group also working on this. Next Tuesday there is a group launching in Aylesbury to lobby the new county authority re: the climate emergency.

MK – suggests that Wycombe for Fairtrade could be involved in this joint effort. Everyone voted for this.

JM – Costa Rica are taking practical action to tackle climate change

MK – the all-party committee for Central America haven’t met for many months. During the meeting with the Costa Rican ambassador the possibility of forming a committee for Costa Rica on its own was discussed.

MK/JM would both like to go to the Wyc FOE meeting next Thursday evening to discuss the joint group on climate change.

St M – the more people involved, the more leverage there would be with local government.

TT – a company is producing bricks from recycled material – prevents a lot going to landfill. There is also a company who are working on an electric aeroplane fleet.

MK – Bucks New Uni have plans for their volunteers week. Handing out FT bananas and ‘Smile Week’. They are also arranging to have a speaker from Bewleys. They have about 125 students they can call on in the Sustainability etc group

JM – it was a very useful meeting with Costa Rican ambassador. He wanted to talk about a wide range of topics involving environmental action in Costa Rica in general. He was also talking about engaging with local politicians and about setting up an all-party parliamentary group for Costa Rica.

MK – It would be really good if the ambassador could meet with the new Wycombe Town Council. The ambassador was very interested in what we have done with the linking model. He said that there is lots of potential for increasing trade with Costa Rica. He suggested targeting new Tory MPs in northern seats. The meeting lasted about 3 hours.

JM – the ambassador came from the Grecia area and knew the mayor and Co-op Victoria.

MK – re: FT Fortnight. JM and TT are willing to go on Wyc Sound radio with MK.

The presentation event is on Jan 21st. MK will do a shortened version of his climate presentation. It would be a good opportunity to get signatures on a document to support the idea of a partnership between the Grecia and Wycombe. There will be refreshments after the presentation and before the rest of the council meeting.

The churches/faith groups think-tank on FT is booked for 7th March. MK showed a poster. 3 speakers are arranged – Margaret Dykes, Angorad Hopkinson (the head person for faith and churches at the FT Foundation) and Mike (the effect of climate change on FT). Heather will lead a FT service at the end. Heather has lots of links with local churches. It may also be possible for Maranda St John Nicholle to be there (Christian Concern for One World).

TT – on the poster for this event, please can people be encouraged to join our Facebook group – also at the event itself.

MK – our website is looking really good, many thanks to TT

TT – need to get better at reporting on what we have done.

BS – the Avenue church is now up and running again, following the repairs.

SM – re: if other faith groups are also being invited, we may need to make the poster inclusive of them.

MK – re: the John Hampden Politicon event 6 – 8.30pm on 13th Feb. We will have a stall there.

MK – showed a proposed poster for use at events to promote ourselves – showing how we are campaigning on the 5 goals for a FT Town. Suggested it is printed on display board (foam inner) on A2 size. We would have to get a company to do this.

TT – has links with companies who could do this.

TT – the most recent work he has done is to bring our website up to date. We need to be more proactive in advertising events. If we set up a Facebook group then we can send invites to everyone in the group.

JM – we need to find ways of increasing our income. A lady from the Bristol FT group said they are a CIC (Community Interest Company) legal entity – can then get funding from businesses and government eg DFID. JM suggested we may be able to do something similar.

St M – Wycombe FOE get income from membership fees. It may be worth talking to James MacDonald (Friends of the Wye) to see where they get their funding from.

SK – there will be Traidcraft stall at the churches event on 7th March and at Christ the Servant King church the next day.

TT – has spoken to his church, Kings Church, about becoming a FT church – they use Kingdom Coffee but don’t seem to know that it is FT.

Next meeting: 11th February at Ivan’s at 8pm

Minutes of 12th November 2019

Location

Micklefield Library, Micklefield Road

Those Present

  • Mike King
  • Ivan Cicin-Sain – Wycombe Friends of the Earth
  • Sheena King
  • Angus Massie
  • Daniel & Claudia Mangoldt
  • Sarah Moroz
  • Eryn Anderson – Bucks New Uni
  • Jhon Munoz
  • Bob Smith

Notes

CM – has just arrived recently in UK from Spain

DM – always interested in FT, not had opportunity to pursue it before.

JM invited C /D

EA – current ambassador for FT from BNU – took over from Emily Dixie

Apologies from TT – he will be putting more on website for us.

MK – attended Population Matters event on 12th October

MK – Cardiff International FT conference was the best conference they’d ever attended

I C-S – 12th October event was at Trinity URC. There was a good stand-up comedian and a variety of stalls – Extinction Rebellion group from Marlow, WFF, and various environmental groups – made £100 profit and 80 people attended.

Future events – Population Matters AGM on 18th Nov at Ivan’s house. Wyc FOE Christmas meeting on 4th Dec at Friends Meeting House

A new warning from scientists has come out this month – 11,000 scientists have signed it – it calls on governments to take urgent action to tackle the climate crisis including ending and reversing population growth.

AM – is starting to make progress in accumulating contact details for churches in Wycombe re: assessing FT situation.

SK – has asked Christ the Servant King church if they can apply to be a FT church. Their administrator is very supportive. SK will be their contact.

MK – has been invited to the BNU Environment, Sustainability & FT Committee.

EA – at the moment they are organising a FT breakfast meeting – inviting local FT businesses eg. Ruby Moon and focussing also on green issues. Hopefully they will have speakers at it as well. It will be just before FT Fortnight in volunteers week

JM – it would be good to have some students come to our meetings.

EA – if there is sufficient warning / advertising then support could be good.

MK – re: the Cardiff conference / visit of Maria. Maria was invited by ourselves plus mayor/deputy mayor. She was also representing the mayor of Grecia.

There was a meeting in the mayor’s parlour. Next stage is to have a formal agreement for the linkage.

One problem is the dissolving of the Wycombe District Council. There was an online questionnaire re: this. If there was a town council just for Wycombe, it would be easier for us to deal with. Matt is going to check the wording of the twinning agreement with Klekheim. The powers of the mayor in Grecia are greater. MK, JM and Maria also had a meeting with Bewleys on 17th October. Maria gave background of what they are trying to do. They also visited Matt’s cafe and Maria was very impressed. At a school in Costa Rica, children bring in used vegetable oil which is then purified and mixed with diesel to power tractors and local lorries. The whole of Costa Rica is due to be using renewables by 2025. They have a lot of migrant workers they pay fairly. Bewleys are roasting some of the beans from Co-op Vittoria with a view to producing a speciality coffee with Wycombe/Grecia names on. The town of Haworth in Yorkshire has done something similar (worthvalleymag.co.uk has a report in its October 2019 edition). They also went to Ruby Moon, Air Raid cafe and various other shops in Wycombe.

AM – Has heard that Air Raid cafe will be going soon – it is a pop-up – will be replaced.

MK – Bart from the Oxford group complimented us at the Cardiff conference for our achievements. Possible that we may do a joint event with them.

MK – showed the papercopy of the powerpoint presentation that he gave at the Population Matters event on 12th October.

MK – would be good to have a social to celebrate our 5 year anniversary and our renewal. We have achieved a lot in the last 18 months. Also MK/SK hope to visit Costa Rica.

JM – re: workshop at the Cardiff conference . Talked about how we built the link with Costa Rica. He showed a printout of the slides they used. They also showed a video from the mayor of Grecia – it is now on Facebook. Matt also spoke. Matt and Maria announced the friendship link at the end of the conference. Matt was the only mayor there (apart from the mayor of Cardiff). There was also a stall promoting the Co-op Vittoria products etc

SK – showed the programme for the conference

MK – Cardiff was the first FT capital and Wales the first FT nation. There was also a FT church service.

SK – there were a lot of stalls – one of them was Bala balls. Perhaps we could get Wycombe Wanderers to use FT balls, even if only for their practice sessions.

MK – for the Cardiff government everything has to be FT, local or healthy.

MK – also visited a FT primary school and attended their assembly. Children were enthusiastic.

SK – attended a workshop re: the UN working with refugees to make handicrafts to sell as FT – she took a leaflet about it to Ruby Moon.

SK – they were also selling FT T-shirts

EA – at the moment the university are trying to find a supplier for FT T-shirts.

SK – gave EA a leaflet re: possible suppliers

MK – SK/MK ran a stall at CSK last Sunday. They took about £600. They also sold some of the produce given by Bewleys. Nero Bianco chocolate bars sold well. This added £20 to our bank acct – now stands at £155.

JM – it would be good to discuss possible fundraising ideas.

MK – would like to speak to Louise Whitaker about this as well

MK – asked re: Mayor’s carol service

BS – thinks it is the 15th December.

SM – will ask Matt.

SM – is planning to send schools questionnaire out – to primary only? But the possible language student etc links with Grecia schools would be more suited to secondary schools.

FT Fortnight next year seems to be concentrating on chocolate.

MK – re: presentation of our renewal certificate – would be good if we could get the Costa Rican ambassador to present it to the Chairman of WDC? Tony Green is also the chair of the Twinning Ctte.

JM – we can ask Matt’s opinion.

SM – maybe present it to the mayor instead?

MK – also doesn’t want to use the term ‘twinning’ – more a ‘Partnership’.

EA – their event would be on a weekday (Wednesday?) morning. Would be inviting lecturers as well as students.

MK – Heather is the new lay minister at CSK. She has suggested that it would be a good idea to have a workshop looking at FT churches. CSK would host the event – during FT Fortnight on a Saturday morning – inviting all the churches in Wycombe – have speakers eg. Margaret Dykes. MK could do the climate change talk. Could discuss how to involve young people at the churches. Could finish with a short service. Also to include other faiths and denominations.
We need to compile the info on Wycombe churches for our next FT Town renewal application.

JM – for FT Fortnight we could do another interview on Wycombe Sound, promote things on our Facebook page. Following the Cardiff conference our Facebook followers increased significantly. Also perhaps organise a talk to let people in Wycombe know about the linkage with Costa Rica.
EA – could use the ‘Front Room’ as a venue. This could be a ‘drop-in’ event, open throughout the day with speakers at different times during the day.

MK – also need to arrange a meeting with the Costa Rican embassy

I C-S – Wyc FOE and Pop’n Matters are taking part in an event (Politicon) at John Hampden school on Thursday 13th February to introduce 6th formers to various groups.

MK – will make contact to see if we can also have a stall.

Next meeting: 7th January at Micklefield Library (if Avenue not
available)

CoopeVictoria visit High Wycombe October 2019 -Part 2 of 3 – Overview of the 3 days

Visit of Maria Angela Zamora Chaves from CoopeVictoria Fairtrade Cooperative, Grecia, Costa Rica to High Wycombe 16th-18th Oct 2019

Invited to High Wycombe by the Mayor of Wycombe (Maz Hussain) and the Deputy Mayor of High Wycombe (Matt Knight), Maria Angela Zamora Chaves was a guest of the Wycombe For Fairtrade Steering Group for 2 days arriving in High Wycombe on Tuesday 15th October 2019.

Maria Angela Zamora Chaves, is a University Business Studies Lecturer as well as being the Coordinator of Social Responsibility and Cooperative Education in CoopeVictoria, a Fairtrade organic coffee and sugar producer group, she was also representing the local Fairtrade Town and Mayor of Grecia in Costa Rica.

First stop on the High Wycombe tour was to take Maria to experience a full English breakfast at the Hills Community Cafe in Micklefield, which also offered a range of Fairtrade coffees and speciality teas. We also met some of the customers including a Spanish speaking couple. Maria was particularly impressed with the community aspect of this inclusive social enterprise cafe and the range of events involving young people and those with mental health problems. Maria was determined to adopt this model and open a similar cafe in Grecia, funded through the Fairtrade Premiums.

Outside Hills Cafe

Later on during the morning of Wednesday 17th October, Jhon and Mike showed Maria around the town and took her to some of the sites like the Parish Church, the Town Hall, Pann Mill watermill, the Rye Park, and the Red Lion in the High Street. We also fitted in a range of Fairtrade shops, supermarkets, independent cafes, the local Oxfam shop, as well as looking around the Fairtrade and ethical clothes and craft shop, Ruby Moon. Maria was very impressed with the range and quantity of Fairtrade products available in Wycombe retailers and cafes generally.

Outside Ruby Moon

After a very nice lunch in the Air Raid Shelter Cafe sampling Grumpy Mule Fairtrade coffee from the Wycombe wholesaler Bewley’s. Maria liked the food as much as the 1940’s decor, ambience and atmosphere, and the entrance to the Air Raid Shelter provided a good photo opportunity for her colleagues back in Grecia.

We took Maria to the Town Hall to meet the Mayor (Maz) and Deputy Mayor (Matt) in the Mayor’s Parlour from 3.00pm to 4.30pm. ( Please See: Mayor and Deputy Mayor meeting document for further details).

Later on that evening, 5 members of the Steering Group met Maria for a social gathering and meal in the Chiltern Taps restaurant. Maria enjoyed tasting local real ales and a typically English meal of fish and chips. It was a very enjoyable and fun evening.

Inside Chiltern Taps

Jhon and Mike took Maria on Thursday 18th November to the Cressex Industrial Estate for a booked appointment with Louise Whitaker, the Group Sustainability Manager from Bewley’s UK. This was a very productive meeting during which Maria Angelaexplained the background of CoopeVictoria and their track record of community funded projects, sustainability, recycling, and engagement with children in formal education. Much of CoopeVictoria’s coffee is organic and 64% exported to European markets, although not directly to the UK at the moment. CoopeVictoria had introduced a “Meeting the Producers” tour for foreign visitors, which Louise thought an excellent idea. Bewley’s were currently testing the quality of their “green” coffee beans with a view to possibly market this as a speciality coffee in the near future.

With Bewley's van

Between 2.00pm and 2.15pm, we managed to fit in a live radio broadcast on John Murphy’s afternoon Wycombe Sound show. Maria Angela largely spoke Spanish which Jhon Munoz translated into English. They and Mike King discussed the concept of Fairtrade generally as well as the links the Wycombe Fairtrade Steering Group have enacted between High Wycombe Council and the Fairtrade town of Grecia in Costa Rica, but also the work we have done linking with the Fairtrade cooperative group CoopeVictoria and in turn acting as a conduit between them and our Fairtrade Flagship employer in Wycombe, Bewley’s UK.

At Wycombe Sound

There were a number of other possibilities for the future linking between Grecia and High Wycombe in terms of business, eco-tourism, history and culture, as well as in secondary and graduate education for language student and two-way teacher exchanges.

Mike King, Chairman Wycombe For Fairtrade

CoopeVictoria visit High Wycombe October 2019 – Part 1 of 3 – Meeting with the Mayor

Maria Angela Zamora Chaves from CoopeVictoria meets with Wycombe Mayor (Maz) and Deputy Mayor (Matt Knight)

Location

In the Mayor’s Parlour, Old Town Hall. Weds 16th October 2019. 3.00 – 4.15pm.

Present:

Maz
Matt Knight
Maria Angela Zamora Chaves (Fairtrade Cooperative CoopeVictoria and Grecia Town)
Mike King (Wycombe Fairtrade)
Jhon Munoz (Wycombe Fairtrade)

The Discussion

After introductions Maria Angela explained the background and history of the Fairtrade
certified organic coffee and sugar producer cooperative, CoopeVictoria, as well as its
relationship with the Fairtrade town of Grecia in Costa Rica.

Maria Angela saw some similarities with the poorer areas of Grecia in her visit to
Micklefield, a disadvantaged area in Wycombe. She liked the idea of Matt’s Hills Community
Cafe in Micklefield and wanted to try and replicate this in Grecia as one of the CoopeVictoria
social projects, funded by the Fairtrade Premiums, creating a community hub with local
events and informal groups.

Maria Angela and Jhon showed the recorded 2-minute video from the Mayor of Grecia,
Mainor Molina Murillo, explaining that he could not come personally, but sent his warmest
greetings to High Wycombe. Mainor made it very clear in the video that he is very keen on
the idea of a formal relationship of friendship, cooperation, and mutual promotion with the
town of High Wycombe, especially in the areas of tourism and school education exchanges
in the future.

It was explained to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Wycombe that this video would be shown during our joint workshop at the Cardiff International Fair Trade Towns Conference on Saturday 19th October 2019, highlighting Wycombe and Grecia’s ideas of bridging the Global North – Global South Fair Trade Towns gap by forming a link and partnership. This would also benefit the respective towns’ trade, economy and businesses. CoopeVictoria had already sent “green coffee beans” to the local Wycombe Fairtrade Coffee Roaster and Wholesaler for quality testing. Following more trials it is hoped that Bewley’s UK would produce a small batch of speciality CoopeVictoria coffee for the UK market. At present, CoopeVictoria do not have a direct distributer in the UK, although 64% of their exports are to mainland Europe. Other cultural links could also be explored further down the line. School exchanges, especially those involving eco-tourism and respective English and Spanish language classes would be very valuable to both towns’ schools and secondary education.

Agreement

The results of the meeting were that the Mayors of both High Wycombe and Grecia would like to work together and had formed a firm foundation to make this happen. Best wishes on both sides were extended. A more formal signed agreement of friendship, cooperation, and partnership would follow later on.

Mike King, Chairman Wycombe Fairtrade