Making Enfield Fairtrade again

David Lowbridge from Fairtrade Foundation (left) presents a certificate declaring as a Enfield a Fairtrade borough to then mayor Lee Chamberlain (right) in 2008 (credit Keith Emmitt)
David Lowbridge from Fairtrade Foundation (left) presents a certificate declaring Enfield a Fairtrade borough to then mayor Lee Chamberlain (right) in 2008 – the borough has since lost its official Fairtrade status (credit Keith Emmitt)

Bill Linton on how Enfield Fairtrade Campaign is seeking to restore the borough’s former status

The last week of February and the first week of March each year are designated as Fairtrade Fortnight, when communities across the country attempt to shine a spotlight on Fairtrade products.

Fairtrade goods are those for which a co-operative of poor farmers somewhere in the developing world have been paid a fair price; a price that permits the farmers and their families to live a dignified existence with at least the minimum of life’s necessities, and for their community to begin to develop.

This year’s Fairtrade Fortnight runs from Monday 22nd February until Sunday 7th March and the theme is ‘choose the world you want’. That seems appropriate, as most of us want a world that is fair!

But how does Fairtrade work? For each commodity – such as tea, coffee or bananas – a Fairtrade price is set, sufficient for a diligent small farmer to make a decent living. The farmers get the market price or the Fairtrade price, whichever is higher. This frees farmers from the whims of the New York or London stock markets.

Additionally, there is a small premium for community development, which the whole community must decide democratically how to use – perhaps for a school or local health post. The whole process is minutely inspected to ensure there’s no cheating either by farmers or by companies labelling produce as Fairtrade.

Garstang in Lancashire declared itself the world’s first official Fairtrade town in April 2000, and the idea quickly caught on. Regulated in the UK by the Fairtrade Foundation, which sets five tough criteria for a Fairtrade community to meet, there are now hundreds of such communities in the UK and worldwide.

The campaign to add Enfield to that number started in early 2005 and reached fruition in September 2008, when we were declared a Fairtrade borough. Enfield’s success was mirrored by London’s – the declaration of London as the world’s largest Fairtrade city came just days before ours.

Since then the Enfield Faritrade campaign has faltered and our accreditation has sadly been lost. But now we are back in business again with a dynamic steering group in charge and we will be particularly active during Fairtrade Fortnight – so look out for us and for the Fairtrade logo!

Fairtrade communities aren’t confined to towns, cities and London boroughs. Your school or place of worship can be one too; the main thing is to make a point of including Fairtrade in your weekly shop, or when you buy even a cup of coffee.

Get involved with Enfield Fairtrade Campaign: