“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” Amos 5:23-25
The acronym LOAF can help us shop with sympathy and cook with compassion. This month we are looking at the last of the four principles, the F in LOAF, which stands for ‘Fairtrade’.
For the foods that cannot be grown in our bio-region, such as coffee, tea, cocoa and bananas we can choose to buy Fairtrade and support a system that gives a fair wage and good working conditions to the people who produce our food.
Oliva Kishero, 33, pictured here, and her husband, own and run their organic certified coffee farm in Uganda. In 2000 they joined the Fairtrade certified Gumutindo Coffee Co-operative. Oliva says: “Fairtrade makes a big difference to us. It is marketing our coffee and giving us a fair price. And we know we are not being cheated…The fair price helps pay school fees for my children.”
She explains that life could be very hard before the co-op started buying their coffee. “We women carried the coffee to market on our backs, sometimes to villages 10 kilometres away. The traders would say our coffee is no good and offer us a low price. We had to take what they offered or carry it all the way back to our farms.”
The co-ops receive an additional Fairtrade premium to invest in projects. They recently built a coffee storage facility and plan to improve local roads and fund classrooms and grants at the local schools.
In our family we buy Fairtrade chocolate because we don’t like the thought of eating food that may be tainted by child slavery. Anti-Slavery International’s latest research shows the continuation of child trafficking to cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast, which produces almost 40% of the world’s cocoa. Instead of going to school young boys are forced to spend long days hacking open cocoa pods with machetes, handling dangerous pesticides and carrying heavy loads – work that is deemed extremely hazardous, can lead to injury and ill-health, and that no young child should have to do.
Buying Fairtrade may cost a little more, but you may decide it is worth it.