Whittington Fairtrade


Fairtrade villages are few and far between but the community of Whittington and Fisherwick achieved Fairtrade status in August 2012.  Most of us are familiar with the Fairtrade logo - apparently the most readily recognised logo in the country - and there is a huge range of products (over 4,500 at the last count) from Ale to Yoghurt (and probably one beginning with Z as well) now widely available in the shops, at cafes and restaurants and on line.  Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.  Lichfield has, of course, been committed to Fairtrade for a number of years, as are the District Council and Staffordshire County Council.

It is over five years since Whittington and Fisherwick first achieved Fairtrade status.  Looking back, a great deal has been achieved.  There are now prominent Fairtrade Village signs on each of the roads into the village and, in addition to the familiar giant, inflatable teacup, we have a smart banner to display.  We also have a Whittington Fairtrade calendar and Whittington Fairtrade stickers, which are freely available at all manner of events in the village.

A group of Whittington folk decided early in 2012 that the residents of such a vibrant and caring community would welcome a Fairtrade initiative and we received the excellent news a few months later that our application had been approved and that Whittington and Fisherwick had been awarded Fairtrade Village status.  The certificate was formally presented by celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson at the Countryside and Craft Fair on September 1st.  The Parish Council has declared its formal support and a steering group meets regularly.  Residents are regularly updated through coverage in the local press and can buy Fairtrade products in the village shops, some of which already stocked them previously.  Keep your eyes open for the logo in the Co-op, the chemist and the post office and please ask if you can’t see what you are after.  The pubs are also on board, as are St Giles Hospice and DMS Whittington.  St Giles Church has been a Fairtrade church for several years and King Edward VI is a Fairtrade school, with Whittington Primary School working towards accreditation.  Numerous other organisations, large and small, including a host of village clubs and societies, support us and are committed to using Fairtrade products wherever practicable.  If you haven’t been approached yet, or would like to tell us that you already use Fairtrade products, please do get in touch.

Whilst Fairtrade’s main aims are to improve the lives of small scale farmers and farm workers in developing countries, there is also a strong theme of helping to protect the environment for us all.  Extra income above minimal subsistence levels enables farmers to invest in methods that are sustainable.  One co-operative in Costa Rica, for example, now saves 10 hectares of forest every year after buying new ovens fuelled by coffee hulls and pulp, instead of wood, to dry coffee beans.  This co-op also uses waste coffee pulp as an organic fertiliser which is composted for members who had previously tipped the waste into the river, badly affecting water and wildlife.

Whittington Fairtrade has benefited from the support of Police and Crime Commissioner and former County Councillor Matthew Ellis and County Councillor Alan White and also Simon Price, Chief Executive of Arthur Price, who are all Patrons of the organisation.  Amongst other supporters, the Central England Co-op and the Tamworth Cooperative Society have been particularly helpful.

Why not have a look at the Fairtrade website – www.fairtrade.org.uk ?    If you would like to find out more about the Whittington initiative or to become involved in any way, please contact Steve Barr – stevebarruk@yahoo.com or 01543 432605.

Look for the FAIRTRADE Mark when you shop! Almost 5,000 products from coffees to flowers are Fairtrade certified.
Fairtrade villages are few and far between...