Category Archives: Wycombe News

Steering Group Members invited to Costa Rica Orchard Festival 9th February 2022 at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew

Steering Group Chairman, Mike King, and Group Member Jhon Munoz were invited by the Ambassador of Costa Rica to the UK to the official opening of the Costa Rican Orchid Festival month.  The orchids, some of the 1600 that  were native to Coast Rica, were stunning. It was a chance to renew our acquaintance with Ambassador Ortiz as well as brief him on our future activities with Grecia and CoopeVictoria.

 

Wycombe For Fairtrade activities: Fairtrade Fortnight 21 February – 5 March 2022

Confirmed events, activities, and presentations wholly or jointly organized by Wycombe for Fairtrade , or invited to attend by external organizations.

DayDateTimeEventOrganiser / Location
Monday21st Feb9:30 amFairtrade BreakfastBucks New University, High Wycombe
Monday21st Feb2pm – 4pmCo-op Shared Values Fairtrade eventCoop – Northcote Road, Clapham Food Store, (Battersea)
Wednesday23rd Feb10 am – 11:30 amBig Brew Fairtrade Stall & Quiz – Open Door CafeChrist the Servant King Church, Booker
Friday25th FebNoonCoop Shared Values Fairtrade eventBourne End store
Monday28th Feb8:45amFairtrade Assembly Year 11Highcrest Academy
Monday28th FebNoonCoop Shared Values Fairtrade eventCoop – Reading University
Tuesday1st March8:45amFairtrade Assembly Year 10Highcrest Academy
Wednesday2nd Mar8:45amFairtrade Assembly Year 7Highcrest Academy
Wednesday2nd Mar1pmFairtrade Assembly Year 8Highcrest Academy
Thursday3rd Mar8:45amFairtrade Assembly Year 9Highcrest Academy
Friday4th Mar8:45amFairtrade Assembly 6th FormHighcrest Academy
Saturday5th Mar10am – 3pmWycombe Churches promotionAvenue Methodist Church & Wycombe for Fairtrade

Mike King

Chairman, Wycombe for Fairtrade

Core Values

Cooperative Community Shared Values and Member Pioneer promotion events – Fairtrade Fortnight 2022

Nelson Mandela

As Nelson Mandela said “I would have thought that people who subscribe to the same values, who share a common vision & who accept each others integrity have laid the basis for a good relationship.”

Wycombe for Fairtrade is building strong links with the Co-Op Member Pioneer and Community Shared Values division because we have found that we do indeed have shared values when it comes to fair trade.

During Fairtrade Fortnight 2022, the Co-Op is running ‘shared value’ events which reflect the Coop’s huge support for the Fairtrade movement.  These are “in-house” events but Wycombe For Fairtrade have been invited to 3 separate Co-Op store events which are designed to raise the profile of Fairtrade to the public.

Wycombe For Fairtrade have backed up our shared community values with action and our objectives coincide exactly with those of the Co-op.  Members of our steering group have accepted invitations to attend the following events because we think that the Cooperative Stores’ experience, knowledge and resources, could benefit us in ideas to expand our public face and maybe energize us to reach a wider audience.

The event on 21st February 2022 at their “Flagship store” in Battersea is both national and London focused.  It will be attended by Mike King and Tony Thornby of the Wycombe for Fairtrade steering group.  Mike hopes that networking at this event will advance our cause to get Coope Victoria coffee roasted in the UK either for Co-op in-house roasted coffee, or from one of their independent roasters, and to progress the idea producing a Grecia/Wycombe Fairtrade Partnership Town blend in the future.

Bourne End event on 25th February 2022 is a local area promotional Fairtrade Community Shared Values event.  It will be attended by Mike King.

The Reading University event on 28th February 2022 is the regional promotion location for the Southern Counties. Appropriate Coop food supply chain and food purchasing managers will be present to network with. Wycombe for Fairtrade steering group attendees of this event will be Mike King and Sarah Moroz: Sarah did her PhD at Reading University.

Orchid on Costa Rica coffee plantation

Wycombe for Fairtrade Steering Group Members invited to prestigious event by the Ambassador of the Republic of Costa Rica

As a result of international connections formed by Wycombe for Fairtrade, its member (Jhon Munoz) and its steering group chairman (Mike King) have been invited to a reception on Wednesday 9th February 2022 to celebrate the opening of Orchids at Kew Gardens. This is being held in the Princess of Wales Conservatory within the Royal Botanic Gardens.

The event will explore the incredible biodiversity and rich culture of Costa Rica at their 26th annual orchid festival. It will showcase stunning horticultural and artistic installations and reveal how Kew scientists are collaborating with experts in Costa Rica to understand the country’s wonderful plant life.

See more details at https://www.kew.org/kew-gardens/whats-on/kew-orchid-festival

Wycombe For Fairtrade – Stall at Pann Mill Open Day on Sunday 12th September 2021

Wycombe For Fairtrade rented stall space at the recent Pann Mill Open Day. This was the first information and Fairtrade product stall that that we have had since about one year and a half ago when the pandemic lookdown occurred, and public gatherings banned.

Thank to Sarah, Sheena, Jhon and Mike who staffed the stall all day from 1030am to about 4.45 pm.

It was a surprisingly successful venture for several reasons: –

  1. Our stall near the Pann Mill Café saw steady footfall all day.
  2. It was good to have direct contact with the public again.
  3. We managed to sell a number of Traidcraft products and raised over £156.00.
  4. Sadly, Wycombe Sound Community Radio were not present at this event However,
  5. Steering Group members had a number of productive conversations with members of the public as well as engaging with several known contacts.
  6. The Mayor of High Wycombe, Councillor Andrea Baughan, visited Pann Mill around 4.00 pm and visited all the stalls and spoke with the stall holders. This provided Wycombe For Fairtrade with good photo opportunities to: –
  7. Present the Mayor with a Fairtrade coffee mug which the Chairman presented to Andrea
  8. The backdrop was the new banner highlighting the twin Fairtrade Town linking between Grecia in Costa Rica, and the Fairtrade Town of High Wycombe in which the image colours and the text really
  9. Marion Lyons, from St Andrews Church introduced herself and stated that the Church had registered with the Fairtrade Foundation under the new Places of Worship scheme and were busy ensuring that Fairtrade products and the ethics of social justice were entrenched in the biblical teaching and church services.
  10. Also, a member of the public came forward and identified herself as Fay, and gave us a insight into the workings of the High Wycombe Community Board, which could prove useful in future and in “building back better” in terms of local council actions and plans. We noted her contact details for future reference.

Overall, it was a very positive, productive, and profitable presence and although tiring to set up and pack up, but was well worth the effort.

Many thanks to Sheena King, Sarah Moroz, and Jhon Munoz who gave up a large proportion of Sunday to ensure that our Fairtrade Stall was staffed all day.

Mike King

Chairman, Wycombe For Fairtrade

Wycombe Fairtrade Steering Group Chairman meets with Andrea Baughan, the new Mayor of High Wycombe – Monday 14th June 2021.

This was Andrea’s first meeting as Mayor on her first day in office. Andrea was very receptive and supportive of Fairtrade as she is of small businesses, social housing, (Habitat for Humanity), environmental issues, and climate change issues. She welcomed the opportunity for Wycombe For Fairtrade Steering Group members to attend any Mayoral events and functions where they might be able to provide Fairtrade teas/coffees/biscuits etc. and where Wycombe Fairtrade could perhaps promote Wycombe being a Fairtrade Town and our ever developing links with Grecia/CoopeVictoria in Costa Rica, using our banners/leaflets etc?

The Mayor also expressed her desire to do some joint ventures and promotion around the 2022 Fairtrade Fortnight in High Wycombe, as well as link with her counterpart in Grecia. This would hopefully, pandemic restrictions permitting, include the annual Mayor’s Carol service in November 2021, but could possibly include other events that might involve local businesses, schools, or places of worship. Engaging with young people is a particular passion for Andrea during her mayoral tenure.

Since the Coronavirus outbreak, the Mayor of High Wycombe’s website has been mothballed. However, next month it is expected to be reactivated. She is happy to have the Wycombe For Fairtrade website link on her Mayor’s home page as well as for the Wycombe For Fairtrade website and social media having links to the Mayor’s webpage. Andrea was also willing to be involved with online links and future Zoom discussions with the Mayor of Grecia, in Costa Rica, whose 200th Anniversary as an independent country is in September 2021.

Andrea advised the Wycombe For Fairtrade Steering Group to continue to have dialogue with the Wycombe Town Councillors (Charter Town Trustees) and to work with newly elected Wycombe councillors across all parties.

The 90-minute meeting covered a wide range of issues and was highly productive in terms of mutual understanding, clarity, and support. Andrea has consulted her diary and has very kindly agreed to attend the next Wycombe For Fairtrade Steering Group.

High Wycombe Forms Global Links for Fairtrade!

For the last few years, High Wycombe Fairtrade has been forging links with the Fairtrade town of Grecia and neighbouring Fairtrade coffee and sugar producer, Coope Victoria, in Costa Rica.

The linking stemmed from a conversation which took place at the International Fairtrade Town Conference in Madrid in 2018. Three members of Wycombe for Fairtrade attended the conference and whilst there, happened to meet Maria, the Sustainability Manager from CoopeVictoria. From this initial dialogue, a very productive and active link has been established.

In 2019 Maria visited High Wycombe on route to the International Fairtrade Towns Conference in Cardiff. Whilst with us, she visited a number of shops and cafes in the town selling Fairtrade products including Hills Community Cafe in Micklefield, Ruby Moon, Oxfam and the Air Raid Shelter Cafe to name just some. She had a meeting with Maz, the Mayor, and also visited Bewley’s (a large wholesaler of Fairtrade products) on the Cressex Industrial Estate. At the International Fairtrade Towns Conference she, along with Matt (our deputy mayor), Mike (chairman of our group) and Jhon (also a member of our group with Spanish as his first language) led a workshop entitled “Town Linking: A story of friendship ” at which they shared their experiences of forging links with each other.

The Costa Rican ambassador kindly agreed to present High Wycombe’s Fairtrade Town renewal certificate to the Mayor of High Wycombe in a meeting which took place in January 2020 and a document establishing the Fairtrade High Wycombe/Grecia agreement  (including the CoopeVictoria cooperative) has now been signed by the Mayors of both towns, the Director of CoopeVictoria and Wycombe for Fairtrade Chairman, Mike King (a copy of the document is also on display at the Costa Rican embassy in London). Plans are currently underway to establish dialogues between schools in the two towns, so that students can derive benefit from communicating with each other. This joint venture will provide opportunities for students to develop Spanish/English language skills, to develop and compare the economics of Fairtrade and the links with environmental projects being carried out in both countries.

It is also hoped that coffee from CoopeVictoria can be marketed by a company in the UK, particularly as this producer has recently been awarded First Place in the annual prestigious Costa Rica Fairtrade Gold Cup competition for the quality of their coffee, for the third consecutive year!

It is very worthwhile to have developed this direct link between consumers and producers in the Fairtrade system and many further fruitful discussions and developments are expected to spring from this in the future.

Wycombe for Fairtrade to become a member of the Bucks Climate Action Group

The Decision

In its February 2021 meeting, the Steering Group of Wycombe discussed the merits of joining the Buckinghamshire Climate Action Alliance organization. 

There was a unanimous decision to back and support this alliance as climate change, climate justice, environmental degradation, and sustainability are becoming ever more important elements of fair trade generally, and with fair trade farmers and producers facing the brunt of climatic extremes caused largely by developed world policies and corporate neglect. 

Therefore, Wycombe Fairtrade will become an official member of this pressure group operating at county level and support action to ensure that the new Buckinghamshire Council gives due consideration to global warming and climate change issues, and takes measures to ensure a renewable resources base with “green energy” wherever possible.

Bucks Climate Action Alliance

The Bucks Climate Action Alliance (BCAA) is an umbrella organisation enabling all Bucks organisations and groups concerned about the Climate Crisis and Biodiversity Loss, to come together as one powerful voice, calling on Bucks Council to ACT NOW.

BCAA Mission

  • To persuade Buckinghamshire Council to acknowledge that there is a Climate Emergency.
  • Urgent action is required to meet Net Zero Emissions across the county now.
  • Embed potential climate change impacts as a key factor in all decision making across all the council’s policies and functions.
  • Ensure awareness of climate change threats to all residents and businesses in the county, and encourage appropriate action.

Actions

  • Evaluating Council strategy and giving constructive feedback
  • Raising important questions at Council Committee meetings
  • Co-ordinated Letter writing campaigns to highlight depth of feeling in  the county       
  • Engagement with Community Boards to champion the climate in local decisions.

Group Members Include

CAN-Risborough; The Chiltern Society; Sustainable Chesham; Speen Environmental Action Group; Bucks WI; Believers Action on Climate Change; MarlowCAN [an alliance of Marlow environmental groups); XR Chesham; Chesham4Fairtrade Steering Group; Chiltern Peace and Justice Group; Aylesbury Vale XR; Dan’s Refill Store in Chalfont St Peter; Wycombe Friends of the Earth; Risborough Environmental Group; Population Matters; and Wycombe For Fairtrade Steering Group.

For further details see the Bucks Climate Action Alliance (BCAA) website

Values

The Pathways for Change document describes and gives examples of the actions likely to be required by Buckinghamshire Council and others to address the Climate Emergency that we should all collectively be working towards.

BCAA seeks to prevent extreme weather like the 2020 UK floods affecting the county of Buckinghamshhire by the Council taking measures to ensure that decisions and policies made by the Council include adequate climate action responses to reduce t global warming and occurrences of severe weather extremes.

High Wycombe Fairtrade Churches & Faith Groups “Think Tank” – 7th March 2020

Location: Christ The Servant King Church

Heather Searle from CSK opened the event attended by people from 5 local Wycombe churches by giving a very appropriate sermon on the biblical values of helping people less fortunate than oneself with relevant passages from the Old and New Testaments, transferring those caring and sharing values to the present time and comparing these to the principles promoted by the Fairtrade Foundation.

Margaret Dykes, a local and noted Traidcraft representative and speaker highlighted her experiences of 25 years working with one of the founder members of the Fairtrade organization and her work and projects with schools and churches, promoting the values and dedication that farmers and growers inject into their products. She described what the Fairtrade mark means to producers who are trying to trade their way out of poverty in an economic system which is dominated by large transnational companies who largely adopt unfair business practices.

Angharad Hopkinson, the Fairtrade Churches and Faith Groups Coordinator from the Fairtrade Foundation gave a presentation entitled “Changing the Story”. The talk encompassed biblical passages and themes which related to present day social justice and human rights e.g. “The spoil of the poor are in your houses” (Isaiah 3). She drew attention to the UK chocolate industry currently worth in excess of £4 billion per annum, yet cocoa farmers in the Cote D’Ivoire earn less than $1 per day. She reflected on the verse from Matthew 22 – “You should love your neighbour as yourself”. There were stories from African cocoa farmers like Lucia and Theresa who both lived in extreme poverty until they joined the local Fairtrade Cava Cooperative. Theresa stated that “When I am selling my cocoa through Cava Cooperative, the price is requested (guaranteed)”, and Lucia added that “Cocoa is our hope”. Fairtrade gives people dignity, respect, economic guarantees and the Fairtrade Premium provides schooling and higher education for their children She closed by saying that in a recent report by Oxfam in 2019 entitled, ”Time to Care” –  “The world’s 22 richest men have more combined wealth than all 325 million women in Africa”. A sobering thought!

Maranda St.John Nicolle

Waiting printed notes – No powerpoint

Mike King’s illustrated powerpoint presentation highlighted the threats imposed by climate change to small-scale Fairtrade farmers and producers in developing countries. Drought; floods; desertification; melting glaciers and ice caps; uncertain rainfall; and the increase in greenhouse gases over the last three decades are all impacting on agricultural producers, even though they have not caused the underlying reasons for climate change. However, with years of experience on their land, soil preservation measures, water retention, tree planting, crop diversification, and the introduction of quicker-growing disease resistant seeds and hybrid plants, and the agronomic expertise from Fairtrade; World Coffee Research Institute; IRRI; and World Trade Organisation researchers themselves, small scale farmers are quick to adapt to changing conditions and adopt appropriate technology. With sustainable and organic farming methods predominating, the use of hybrid plants and careful husbandry, farmers are in a position to slow down climate change through these practices by becoming custodians of the land as well as living and working in harmony with nature.