It’s Fairtrade fortnight and we’ve got one great story to share with you. Stay tuned in to find out how Rwanda, JustLove and a Spice Man are all connected.
I spent last summer in Rwanda on the Tearfund ICS placement. In the markets of Muhanga I had a relationship with whomever I was buying from. None of the fruit or veg had packaging and all of it was grown locally. I loved how clothes were made by buying material and taking it to the local tailor, or buying from the second hand clothes market.
As a team we spent a day working on a banana plantation and in a fruit-processing plant and I was deeply impacted by the sharp contrast with the consumerist world of the UK and how I lived at home.
So I decided to put my thoughts into action. I’m a student at Durham University and part of JustLove, a group of Christian students who fight social injustice through advocacy, projects and prayer.
I’ve organised a sub-committee of around 20 people who I’m coordinating to go around the shops, cafes and markets of Durham in order to gather information to create an ethical shopping guide for Durham.
We focus on Fairtrade, locally sourced products and whether the shop pays commercial tax and its employers the Living Wage. The results will be turned into a mobile phone app and paper booklet for anyone in Durham to access.
By creating the Ethical Document, I want to inspire others to analyse how they are spending their money, to know the source of the products they buy and to use their status as a consumer to respect the world we live in. Rather than just heading to Tesco, why not choose beef from your local market?
Since taking this project on, it’s totally changed the way I shop. Now, I spend time talking to store owners and market traders, finding out where certain products have been grown.
My favourite example is ‘the Spice Man’ (Steve), who stocks bags of spices for only 30-60p! They smell incredible and are all Fairtrade. Why wouldn’t you buy from Steve? I compare this to the little glass bottles of spice from supermarkets that cost £1.50 and aren’t half as tasty – and I know that by buying from the Spice Man I’m putting money into the local trade, giving back to the community where I’m a student.
I truly believe you can buy local and Fairtrade without spending much more, knowing that your money will go further. I really want to inspire others to do this more.
Inspired by Kate? Find out more about Fairtrade and buying locally sourced products in your neighbourhood.