1. When did you first find out about Fair Trade?
I first came across Fair Trade through visiting Aberdeen’s Third World Centre. In those days the products were things like jute sikas, wooden boxes and, of course, Campaign Coffee, which was truly an acquired taste. I joined the Centre as an education worker in 1993 and started learning about the wider world of Fair Trade in earnest. Twenty three years on, Fair Trade has changed a lot, but I’m still learning.
2. Why do you think Fair Trade is important?
Every single one of our Fairtrade visitors over the years has told us Fairtrade is essential to themselves and to their communities. Comfort, the Ghanaian cocoa farmer, Kenyan tea producer Julius, Conrad the banana farmer from St Lucia, Palestinian oil producers Jamil and Mahmoud, all of them emphasised the difference that Fairtrade had made to them. Masauko, the sugar farmer from Malawi was visibly moved as he said that his heart was almost too full for words. The winning entry in a competition to describe Fairtrade as a six word story comes to mind:- “Parents produce Fairtrade. Child born. Hope.”
3. What are you doing for Fairtrade Fortnight this year?
“Ferry to a Fairtrade Future” aboard a NorthLink Ferry will provide information on how to encourage Fairtrade use. Nicaraguan coffee producer Fatima Ismael will attend and the business, education and civic worlds will be represented. Efftie, Aberdeen’s banana mascot and friends from our Orkney link will also be on board.