fairtradeMost of us know what’s involved in the Fairtrade movement: it’s about decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for people who work and farm in the developing world. There needs to be local sustainability too, so that that these workers can feel that they’ve got a future worth working towards as well as the knowledge that their children will also have decent lives. So, Fairtrade is the opposite of conventional trade which tends to punish people who are already in a life or death struggle perhaps with an unforgiving climate, perhaps with a corrupt political regime.

In the county of Angus, Fairtrade has been promoted for a good few years and burghs which have Fairtrade status are: Forfar, Kirriemuir, Montrose, Arbroath, Carnoustie and the city of Brechin. Much of the impetus in these burghs has come from churchgoers and a number of churches have Fairtrade status, which they attained by:

  • Using Fairtrade tea and coffee after services and at all meetings for which they have responsibility.
  • Moving forward on using other Fairtrade products such as sugar and biscuits.
  • Promoting Fairtrade during Fairtrade Fortnight and during the year through events , worship and other activities wherever possible.

Here’s one Angus Presbytery church’s Fair Trade ‘history’. It’s East & Old, Forfar.

  • Our Session Clerk, Bob Kidd, part of the steering group working towards Fairtrade status for Forfar, suggested we use Fairtrade tea and coffee with our ‘cuppie’ after the Sunday service.
  • We initially bought coffee and tea from that brilliant supporter of Fairtrade, the Co-op.
  • We then switched to Traidcraft products, ordering tea bags and coffee as well as brown and white sugar sticks.
  • Anyone using our church’s kitchen was now using Fairtrade products.
  • We have a Fairtrade stall open every Sunday, stocking products such as chocolate, biscuits, pasta, marmalade, ordinary and green tea, jars of coffee, kitchen rolls etc.
  • Our Minister, Rev Barbara Ann Sweetin uses her own ideas to include Fairtrade in worship.
  • We run a stall selling Fairtrade goods at Forfar’s Lent Lunches.
  • Our Groovy Gryphons (Sunday School) often have Fairtrade bananas as part of their healthy snack.
  • We used Traidcraft pasta to run a pasta lunch.
  • We used Malawi Challenge rice to run a rice lunch.
  • We switch to a Nescafe Fairtrade coffee as it tastes much, much better!
  • Somewhere along the line we won our first Eco Award from Eco Congregation Scotland, having been helped towards it by our promotion of Fairtrade.

Hopefully this has given you some ideas to help encourage the use of Fairtrade products in your own congregation.