Events attended and arranged by Wycombe Fairtrade Steering Group – 23rd Feb to Sun 7th March
Monday 2nd March 2020.
Mike King attended an event at Bath University jointly sponsored by Bath University; Bewley’s UK; Bristol Link to Nicaragua; and the Students Union of Bath University. There were a series of presentations and talks by Rob Smyth, from the Fairtrade Foundation about the current situation on Fairtrade coffee; a female coffee grower from the Nicaraguan Fairtrade coffee producer SOPPEXCCA, a union of 18 coffee cooperatives. Gloria focused on the challenges to female coffee growers and their resilience and invention to develop new products through adversity. Louise Whitaker from Bewley’s UK, a national wholesaler and coffee roaster., gave a very informative address looking at the valuable role women play in Fairtrade, and especially in the growing of coffee and developing community spirit and harmony and even becoming managers of their own coffee land and developing their own sidelines, diversifying the economy anas well as ensuring money was funding local education, health, and social projects.
Thursday 5th March 2020
This Traidcraft Coffee Boffin Quiz took place at the Christ The Servant King Church, Open Door Cafe for retired people and those with learning difficulties. The Quiz was well received with 25 to 30 people working in small groups and teams. Sustained by Fairtrade coffee, tea , and biscuits, the groups were very engaged and improved their knowledge of coffee varieties, the many hazards of growing coffee, and the wide diversity of flavours. The first three winners received Fairtrade chocolate, biscuits and of course. Fairtrade coffee.
Sunday 8th March 2020
Traidcraft stall run by Sheena and Mike King raised over £500.00 as well as selling and taking orders for Fairtrade Meaningful Chocolate Company Easter eggs. As usual the clergy and the parishioners were very supportive of the Fairtrade cause and bought a range of goods. Fairtrade bamboo socks were very popular.
Saturday 7th March 2020
Christ The Servant king Church in conjunction with the Wycombe For Fairtrade Steering Group hosted a “Fairtrade Churches and Fairth Groups Think Tank” event from 10.30am to 1.00 pm. The purpose was to encourage members from other church groups to think about Fairtrade in its wider and deeper aspects, especially what the scriptures say about helping the poor and those in need. Corona virus threats and a conflicting church event in High Wycombe meant that only around 24 people attended from 5 different churches. Heather Searle led a 20-minute service and gave a very pertinent talk about people help themselves with a little encouragement. Speakers ranged from Margaret Dykes talking about her Traidcraft experiences over 25 years; Angharad Hopkinson, focusing on how to “Change the Story” of poverty using biblical references from Isaiah 3 and Matthew 22. Two female cocoa farmers stated that Fairtrade had through the local Cava Cooperative, a sense of dignity, guaranteed incomes, and the chance to invest in health and education for their children. It was a message of hope. Maranda St John Nicolle echoed this hope by relating her perspectives and experiences in her tours of Southern Africa representing Christian Concern for One World. It is a Christian duty to help others and a theme promoted by other world religions. Finally Mike King looked at the current and future affects of climate change upon small-scale Fairtrade farmers in developing countries, both the negative and positive, and their responses to this in adapting decades of local knowledge of the land while applying appropriate technology. Although small in numbers, people seemed to have been informed and understood the deeper and wider social, economic, ecological, cultural and religious aspects that Fairtrade encompasses.
We would like to see
- More Churches and Faith Groups in High Wycombe apply to the Fairtrade Foundation for registering as a Fairtrade Church/Faith Group.
- Engage with more young people from a variety of faiths to get involved with Fairtrade projects, maybe in relation to schools.
- More churches to have sessions like this or repeat them every one or two years.
- Liaise more with and utilize online resources from the Churches and Faith Groups Coordinator from the Fairtrade Foundation.
- Work with other churches in Wycombe to broaden the understanding of Fairtrade and what it means to the produces and farmers.
- In trying to link the Fairtrade Towns of Wycombe and Grecia (Costa Rica), work towards linking some churches and congregations together.
Chairman, Wycombe Fairtrade