Show Off Your Label Fairtrade Fortnight 28 February - 13 March 2011

Do you love the fact that you buy Fairtrade products and campaign for trade justice whenever possible to help support farmers, workers, their families and communities in developing countries. Well, then you could qualify for the Fairtrade Foundation’s competition to find the biggest Fairtrade show off’s in the UK as part of next year’s Fairtrade Fortnight (28 February – 13 March 2011) themed Show Off Your Label.

Fairtrade Fortnight is the Fairtrade Foundation’s annual awareness raising campaign to promote the difference that Fairtrade makes to millions of people in developing countries. It is also when businesses, Fairtrade supporters and stakeholders such as NGO’s, come together to organise thousands of events around the country to get people buying and understanding the impact of Fairtrade, and, the global need for fairer trade. The Fairtrade Foundation and 100% Fairtrade companies like CafĂ© Direct, Divine and Liberation, also bring Fairtrade producers over to tour the country and meet campaign groups, schools and faith groups. Producers coming over this year include a banana farmer from the Windward Islands, a small-holder coffee farmer from Tanzania and a cotton farmer from India.

To help kick start events, the Fairtrade Foundation has once again produced an ideas-packed Fortnight Action Guide to inspire and enthuse people. The guide and website contain ideas on everything from extreme labelling activities; Fairtrade bake-offs to show off both your culinary skills and showcase Fairtrade products; creating your own pop-up restaurant in your own home with creative sample menus; to using Fairtrade cotton bunting, available free of charge, to decorate events. In fact, the main campaign focus in 2011 will be on Fairtrade cotton which is currently celebrating its fifth anniversary, with people being asked to help break the world record for the longest length of cotton bunting.

More than 10 million West African people rely on cotton for a living but because of unfair trade practices are still living in poverty. Even though one in four people say they have bought Fairtrade certified cotton products in the UK, still less than 1% of cotton fashion on the high street carries the FAIRTADE Mark. Fairtrade cotton guarantees a Fairtrade minimum price as well as a Fairtrade premium for investment in social development projects such as water, education and healthcare.

With most West African cotton farmers earning less than $1 a day and subsidies paid to European and North American cotton farmers depressing world prices, it’s becoming practically impossible for small-scale farmers in West Africa to compete. Next year is a crucial opportunity for Fairtrade campaigners to make a noise about the situation at the tenth anniversary of the WTO Doha Development Round.

The Show Off Your Label theme was inspired by Fairtrade campaigners who each year love showing off their passion for Fairtrade, with ingenious events combining fun with a serious message. Over the years, there have been all sort of exhibitionist antics – from human Fairtrade tea-bags to a Fairtrade banana world record eating events.

“In today’s world, many people see labels as a way of defining themselves. Choosing products with the FAIRTRADE Mark too says a lot about a person’s lifestyle and values,” says Barbara Crowther, Director of Policy and Communications at the Fairtrade Foundation.

In addition to Action Guides, a range of promotional materials such as posters and banners with catching slogans like Parade your Fairtrade peppercorns, Laud your Fairtrade lemons, Shout about their Fairtrade Socks, are available for events in canteens and offices. ‘Showing off’ will give people the opportunity to share their enthusiasm for Fairtrade and Fairtrade products and to tell the story of the people behind the products.

The FAIRTRADE Mark is the only label which gives groups of farmers and producers the means to improve their livelihoods through the guaranteed minimum price and premium for social, environmental and business projects. Around 7.5 million people (farmers, workers, their families and communities) – across 58 developing countries in the developing world benefit from the international Fairtrade system.
The number of Fairtrade towns now stands at 500. There is also a growing international movement of Fairtrade Towns in 18 countries; around 6,000 Fairtrade Faith groups; almost 5,000 registered schools in the Fairtrade Schools Scheme; and 127 Fairtrade universities and colleges.

Source: Fairtrade Foundation

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