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'Telford Calling' by Lynn Mann, Transition Telford

For some time, I have been trying to find fairtrade enthusiasts in Telford without success. Therefore, when asked to write a blog about what is happening in Telford for Fairtrade Fortnight I was struggling! Why? Are my research skills failing? is no-one out there?! If you live in Telford and you would like to get together, do get in touch! Use the ‘contact’ page of the Shropshire Good Food Partnership website and mark it fao Lynn Mann and I’ll be delighted to get back to you.

I was delighted to find that things are afoot at Stirchley Coop: Telford and Wrekin Council was awarded Fairtrade Status prior to Covid and Samantha Lane at Stirchley has been wanting to link up with organisations across Telford & Wrekin that promote Fairtrade. They are held a Fairtrade Live event on 4th March, at the Co-op Store Stirchley, to highlight more about the benefits of buying Fairtrade and the positive impact this choice makes.

The local guide to all things green has Fairtrade Fortnight listed. I know also that fairtrade products are readily available in Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons, Tesco, Co-op as well as smaller independent shops and stalls. I know that now many people will choose Fairtrade items, so I was just reflecting: do they realise how far we have come?

30 years ago, fair trade was not mainstream. Churches and faith groups had started to pick up on it, beginning to understand that it brought justice to those who had none. However, it was not widely available. I can remember when the only way to buy fairtrade wine was to order a crate of it. Now you can go into Sainsbury's!

One of the early exponents of Fairtrade, Traidcraft, is now going into administration. Those of you who are familiar with Traidcraft will know that it has always had two ‘wings’: the Traidcraft shop and Traidcraft Exchange who dealt with its campaigning and overseas work. It is of course the shop that is going into administration. Traidcraft Exchange, under its new name ‘Transform Trade’, continues to do its excellent work.

I quote here directly from the CEO of Transform Trade. I really can't put it better than she does - "change to the entire trading system" is what is required. Have a look at what she has to say:

"Since 1979 Traidcraft has reimagined the relationships between producers and consumers, putting justice at the heart of trade. It's no exaggeration to say that the fair trade movement as we know it would not exist without Traidcraft. But what now? When we changed our name to Transform Trade, Richard Adams, the founder of Traidcraft said... “Transform Trade have picked up the baton with their new strategy and name... the work is not done yet." We didn't realise at the time just how relevant those words would be, only a few months down the line. Together, we must pick up the baton. The good work that Traidcraft has done over the years will not disappear. Instead it must be built upon. Our mission it to transform trade so that everybody benefits. As we continue this work, our focus right now is on two things. 1. Supporting producers Over the years, Traidcraft did incredible work with smaller producer groups - helping them find a route to market where no one else could. We're working on plans to expand our work supporting small groups of artisans and farmers, like those Traidcraft was originally set up to help, in order to fill the gap they leave behind. 2. The system Trading ethically within a system that is unjust is always going to be difficult - especially during a cost of living crisis. From the start, the odds were stacked against Traidcraft. Our campaigning and advocacy work aims to level the playing field by demanding change to the entire trading system. We've shown in the past that it can be done, but we must press on with renewed energy. I firmly believe that there is hope for the trade justice movement. The good work that Traidcraft pioneered cannot and will not be undone. We are committed to transforming trade - and I am so grateful that you stand with us. Thank you for everything you do." Charlotte Timson Transform Trade CEO

Lynn Mann

Transition Telford


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