Fairtrade Fortnight is the most full-on and extraordinary two weeks of our year (not to mention all the time planning it) and we, and the farmers, meet more fantastic people in 14 days than one would hope to in a whole year. It’s exhausting – but amazing. (And big thanks to Tal for co-ordinating the whole thing)
While the wonderful events and brilliant audiences are what we hope and aim for – it can be some of the small things that create some of the best memories. Here are some of mine….
Harriet and Fatima learned to say “Fabulous”, “Marvellous” and “Outstanding!” while they were on this trip – for example when they really mastered going up and down on the escalators – Harriet announced they were “Outstanding!!”
It was some of the people we just bumped into by chance that gave us a real feelgood experience – like the ticket man at London Bridge tube who was really interested in who the farmers were and why they were here, and said how many of his friends were Ghanaian and how great he thought Fairtrade was. And Giles the sound engineer at BBC who connected the interview down the line with “Costing the Earth” – who confessed he was an enormous Divine fan. And the Hungarian girl working in the Bermondsey Street Teapod who was amazed to be introduced to two of the cocoa farmers behind Divine – “it’s my absolutely favourite chocolate,” she cried, “and I should know, I have tried them all!”. (Nice to be able to tell her you can now buy Divine in Hungary).
Meeting up with other producers is always special too – Harriet and Fatima were introduced to Dyborn from Malawi (where the nuts for Harry’s Nuts come from) – and there’s an instant affinity between fellow Africans and fellow farmers.
And finally – on our last afternoon together (returning from a mega shopping session in town) – great excitement behind me and lots of pointing. They had spotted a squirrel and their immediate response was to ask if we could kill it for bush meat. I had to concur about the frequent desire to kill squirrels (from a gardener point of view) but not so sure about the bush meat part of it…. we left him to cause more havoc in South East London.