AS FAIRTRADE Fortnight draws to a close, Footprint takes a look at some best practice in foodservice.
Fairtrade supporting farmers to build a more sustainable future
When consumers and businesses choose Fairtrade tea, they are supporting farmers around the world to get a fair deal for their produce and build a more sustainable future.
Sireet Outgrowers Empowerment Project (Sireet OEP) is a Fairtrade certified co-operative in the Nandi Hills region of Kenya with more than 8,000 small-scale tea farmer members. They supply a range of brands including Cafédirect, Traidcraft, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
Fairtrade groups like Sireet OEP earn at least the Fairtrade Minimum Price for their tea, which acts as a vital safety net when market prices are low and gives stability to plan for the future. They also earn a Fairtrade Premium, to invest as they choose in their businesses or in social projects that benefit the community. Sireet OEP has invested premiums in a wide range of projects including the purchase of a tea factory, new classrooms and school equipment, a new maternity ward, and the construction of water tanks to store and pipe water to villages and irrigate farms.
Teresa Kurgat, age 47, is one of the tea farmers who has benefitted from the construction of a water tank funded by Fairtrade Premium. Teresa lives in Kapsean village with her husband, who is a member of Sireet OEP, her children and her grandchildren. Before the water tank was built, she had to walk long distances every morning to collect water for her family and animals. She used to get very tired, and carrying the water gave her headaches, but since the tank was built she has felt healthier.
She’s not the only one - Teresa’s cows can now access water when they need it, and as a result they are producing almost double the amount of milk. This means Teresa has more milk for her family, and can sell the excess for extra income. She uses the water on her kitchen garden during the dry season, so she can grow more vegetables instead of buying them. And now that Teresa has more time in her day, she can focus on running a local kiosk, which enables her to earn an additional income that can contribute to paying school fees.
Teresa says, “I am very grateful for the buyers who are buying our tea and we ask them to buy more from us, so that we’ll also get much [sic] money to spend on our farms and education here in Kenya”.
Eden Foodservice makes all bananas Fairtrade
National school meal caterer, Eden, recently made the decision to only use Fairtrade certified bananas across its entire business, which means that it is now supplying approximately 35,000kg of Fairtrade bananas per year to its customers.
Eden is part of Interserve and provides catering services to 450 primary and secondary schools across the country.
It prides itself on offering high quality, sustainable meals using fresh, ethically sourced and environmentally friendly ingredients. In recognition of this commitment to quality sourcing, Eden was recently awarded the Silver Food for Life Catering Mark across its entire primary school business – an industry first.
The decision by Eden to switch all of its bananas to Fairtrade came after a ‘Make Bananas Fair’ campaign run by the Fairtrade Foundation, which highlighted the problems facing banana farmers and workers in the developing world. Fairtrade makes a difference to producers by offering an independent assurance that they will earn a fair price, plus an additional Fairtrade Premium that they can invest as they choose in their businesses and communities, as well as long-term contracts, access to finance, and assurances on working conditions and workers’ rights, among other things.
Commenting on the switch, Rachael Venditti, Development Manager at Eden said: “We were inspired by Fairtrade’s Make Bananas Fair 2014 campaign, and made the decision to show our full support through only using Fairtrade certified bananas. We are committed to providing pupils with good food that is ethically sourced and has been independently recognised. We will continue to support Fairtrade through the use of Fairtrade certified ingredients and are looking forward to being part of Fairtrade Fortnight 2015.”
Eden will provide information about how its bananas are sourced on its menus and on its website. James Bennett, Head of Brand and Out of Home at Fairtrade Foundation, said this will encourage school pupils and their parents to reflect on the food they eat, where it comes from, and the difference they can make by choosing Fairtrade. “We’re delighted that Eden Foodservice has made a commitment to switch all of the bananas it sources for schools to Fairtrade,” Bennett said. “This will make a real difference to the lives of banana farmers and workers in the developing world, as well as their families and their communities, who are supported by Fairtrade to get a fair deal and build a more sustainable future.