Jesus said: “Love God with all your heart and your neighbour as yourself”. In a global economy where what we consume in South Lakeland might come from anywhere in the world, Fairtrade producers are our neighbours, just as much as local producers.

Fairtrade fortnight (27 February to 12 March) is an annual reminder that it is part of our Christian duty to stand in solidarity with producers in the developing world, by buying their products. Did you know that you can buy Fairtrade clothing, jewellery and flowers as well as chocolate, coffee, tea and bananas?

Growers in the developing world are exposed to the vagaries of our changing climate which can destroy their crop at a stroke with an extreme weather event. Makers are often powerless to negotiate for decent working conditions, a decent price for their product and a fair wage for hours worked.

Being a Fairtrade producer can help workers build climate resilience and provide training in skills and processes to make their workplaces safe and more productive. The blue-and-green Fairtrade logo on products guarantees that producers are not exploited, that the production processes are as sustainable as possible, and that the community benefits from the Premium – additional money they can spend on social infrastructure projects - building a school or clinic, sinking a well to provide safe drinking water, or even purchasing better equipment.

This year, could you try to start a new habit of choosing Fairtrade products when you do your shopping?

Written by Pam Martin, St John the Evangelist, Levens

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