Fairtrade Fortnight started yesterday. One way we can live generously every day is by making the small changes in our shopping habits which have a huge impact.
‘Who is my neighbour?’ (Luke 10:29)
Confession time: my great weakness is for chocolate. It’s not very Lenten, but I seriously love high-quality dark cocoa products. That’s why it was a shock to learn that in cocoa-growing regions fewer and fewer young people are growing cocoa, as the benefits are so poor (see http://goodbye.fairtrade.org.uk). There is a solution, however.
Two years ago I visited a cacao plantation in Ghana where A Rocha works to ensure the raw ingredients for chocolate are produced in a way that helps local communities have a good income and also protects the environment for the long term. Fair Trade really does make a difference! Buying only Fair Trade chocolate ensures a decent wage for small-scale local farmers, enabling them to thrive, their farms to be sustainable, and our sweet-toothed habit to actually do somebody some good.
It was chocolate and coffee that first got me into Fair Trade back in my student days, but as I’ve seen more of how our globalised world works, I’ve learned that the issues go beyond our taste for hot drinks. When one of my best friends got married he and his fiancée – despite being on low incomes – decided their wedding rings would be from Fair Trade gold. How could they pledge their love if the symbol at the heart of their marriage was mined with suffering and injustice?
Clothing, footballs, wine and bananas, as well as chocolate and coffee: buying Fair Trade is pretty easy for us in the UK. Yet it’s also a clear way of saying ’You are my neighbour’ to people we may never meet but who are created in God’s image and deserve to experience God’s love. Next time you’re tempted to buy the cheapest instead of paying a small premium for Fair Trade, just ask yourself, ‘Who is my neighbour?’
Today's blog was written by Dave Bookless from A Rocha International.
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