Taking steps to help fair trading globally

Once again the Mercury is joining forces with a team in Matlock to promote the values of Fairtrade fortnight.

We are hoping to encourage as many people as possible with an array of competitions, events, delicious recipes and prizes, to join in with this year’s theme of taking a step for Fairtrade.

The idea is to challenge people to take a step in the right direction by thinking about what they could do every day, every week or every month throughout 2012 to make a difference to the lives of Farmer’s in the developing world.

Grayden Daniels, spokesman for Matlock Fairtrade Town group, said: “Buying Fairtrade products is a very easy way of changing people’s lives in developing countries for the better.”

“All you have to do is change your brand of tea or coffee, or buy Fairtrade bananas and it makes a real difference to the people growing these products.”

In total, The Fairtrade Foundation would like the UK public to take 1.5 million steps for Fairtrade in 2012. That’s one for every Fairtrade producer the foundation hopes to work with around the world.

The steps aren’t all about just switching your brands, though. Other steps might include encouraging friends and family to go Fairtrade, joining in your local campaign or supporting Fairtrade restaurants and cafes.

“Some people object to charity, but Fairtrade is not charity,” said Grayden. “It’s about paying people fairly for the work they’ve done and the products they have produced.”

Fairtrade Fortnight officially launches on Monday 27 February but Matlock’s Steeling Committee – the group responsible for promoting Fairtrade in Matlock – has already been busy with promoting the good cause in schools.

Grayden’s wife, Barbara Daniels, gave five assemblies at schools in Matlock and other group members have covered schools in Darley Dale to ensure children are backing the campaign.

The Steeling Committee is also arranging for eight Councillors from every tier of Derbyshire’s local government to bring their partners for a meal at Greenway Café - where all produce is fresh, Fairtrade and locally sourced – on Saturday 10 March.

To register for this year’s campaign visit www.fairtrade.org.uk/step.