Author Archives: Tony Thornby

Summary Minutes of the Meeting of 16th April 2024

Venue

The Avenue Methodist Church, Rutland Avenue

Topics discussed

Synopsis of events since last AGM and thanks to all current members

Recent events

  • Invitation from Fairtrade Foundation to a drinks reception at the Barbican, as a result of the ‘campaigner of the month’ award in January
  • Fairtrade quiz at Christ the Servant King church
  • Discussions with BidCo re: putting Fairtrade logo onto Wycombe map showing retailers that stock Fairtrade

Schools/Higher Education

  • Ongoing talks with Strathmore Uni in Nairobi and Bucks New Uni re: setting up a link and Fairtrade modules within their curricula
  • Upcoming presentation to be given to students at Bucks New Uni
  • Meeting has taken place with 2 new teachers at Highcrest Academy

Treasurer’s report

Wycombe and Grecia/Coope Victoria Partnership

  • Ongoing discussions with Guernsey Fairtrade group re: Galleon coffee project

Social media

  • Need to get information out before events, so we can advertise them and ask for volunteers
  • New e-mail for the group has now been set up: wycombe4fairtrade@gmail.com

Pann Mill Open Day 12/05/24

  • Stall has been booked and we will be selling Fairtrade goods
  • Also hope to also have an activity to engage children

AOB

  • Fairtrade Foundation are running a forestation event for schools
  • Possibly invite a representative from the National Campaigner Committee to one of our meetings

Next meeting

May 21st at The Avenue Church at 8pm

Summary Minutes of the Meeting of 5th March 2024

Venue

The Avenue Methodist Church, Rutland Avenue

Topics discussed

Treasurer’s report

Mayor’s Carol Concert 10/12/23

  • Fewer people than last year but there was a good interface with the public
  • Donations for refreshments separate from those for Mayor’s charities and this worked better

Social Media

  • Need to do more promotion of upcoming events
  • Need to issue minutes sooner after meetings, particularly summary for website
  • A new e-mail address for the group will be set up and e-mails will go direct to one member. The comments section on the website will be linked to this

Galleon Coffee

  • Investigations taking place to see if it will be possible to produce this, using coffee from our partnership in Costa Rica

Schools/Higher Education

  • A talk to be given to GCSE students in September
  • Meeting has taken place with Bucks New Uni – linking of Fairtrade Universities discussed

A.O.B.

  • Our group was awarded Fairtrade Campaigner of the Month for January 2024 by the Fairtrade Foundation
  • Frans van der Hoff died in February this year. He was instrumental in setting up the first Fairtrade label, Max Havelaar, in 1988
  • We have been invited to take part in the Festival of Wycombe event on 8th September
  • We have also been invited to a Community Board meeting on 13th March
  • Cosmetics now available in Primark which use Fairtrade ingredients and the Red Nose T-shirts in TK Max use Fairtrade cotton
  • Have been discussions with BidCo re: updating their map of retail outlets in Wycombe to show which ones stock Fairtrade goods. Bucks New Uni would like to give this map to freshers
  • World Fair Trade Day is on May 11th this year and the next Pann Mill Open Day will be on May 12th

Next meeting

April 16th at The Avenue Church at 8pm

Fairtrade Town becomes Fairtrade Community

Fairtrade Foundation UK – New method of Fairtrade Group Renewal 2023

The Fairtrade Foundation decided, after extensive consultation with campaigners from all parts of the UK fair trade movement, that there was overwhelming support for a refreshed approach to campaigning for fairer trade in 2023.

There was a two-year Fairtrade Foundation automatic extension to all UK groups during the Covid-19 pandemic period from 2020 to 2022, plus a further one-year extension to become familiar with the new platform. This meant moving away from a manual paper recording system, which was both time-consuming and cumbersome, to a quicker and simpler Community Space online portal to apply to renew our Fairtrade Community status. Wycombe For Fairtrade began the online application to become a Fairtrade Community in August 2023, completing and finally submitting the online document in early September 2023.

The new system certainly simplified the application process, with a strict word limit meaning, one had to be quite succinct and precise when describing notable events, activities, collaborations, project outcomes, and presentations engaged in by the Wycombe For Fairtrade Steering Group over the previous 3 years.

The Group liked the way that the “Take Action” options were classified into 5 types of campaigning action, for which, on production of suitable evidence, appropriate “Badges” could be awarded for, e.g. Fairtrade Changemakers or Fairtrade Ambassadors. A “Fair Trade Community” is a town, city, zone, village, or any other geographical area with Fairtrade status, with an option to select the most appropriate area type within the online application.

The online renewal was successful with the Fairtrade Community Renewal Certificate being issued on 7th September 2023 being valid for three years.

Michael King

Chairman, Wycombe For Fairtrade

30th September 2023.

Pann Flour Mill Open Day, Sunday 14th May 2023, Wycombe for Fairtrade Stall

Promoting Fairtrade generally, but specifically the Grecia – CoopeVictoria – High Wycombe Fairtrade Towns Partnership coffee, selling the ethically and locally roasted 250g bags of Celebration Coffee to consumers. With flasks of black coffee, people could try the medium-roasted, Fairtrade, CoopeVictoria single – origin, “Monte Camejo”, coffee before they bought the coffee.

The Wycombe For Fairtrade stall managed to sell a total of 24 bags of the Celebration Coffee during the day, raising over £130.00, contributing to covering roasting costs of the local micro roastery.

Engaging young people with a luck dip and attracting adults through a Costa Rica knowledge competition, combined to bring interest to our stall.  There was a Celebration Coffee bag prize for the highest correct Costa Rica quiz answers.

Mike King

Chairman, Wycombe Fairtrade

UK Fairtrade Foundation Fortnight March 2023 – Wycombe For Fairtrade Activities and Events – 5

Big Fairtrade Fortnight Online Get Together – Thursday 9th March 2023

Responding to an email request from Stefan Donnelly at the Fairtrade Foundation for descriptions of what type of events Wycombe For Fairtrade organized over Fairtrade Fortnight, Mike King, the Wycombe For Fairtrade Chairman, was asked to speak about the main highlight and activities surrounding the visit of Ambassador Rafael Ortiz Fabrega from the Embassy of Costa Rica to High Wycombe on Monday 6th March 2023. Organizing these events to bring together different stakeholders was an interesting challenge and involved a great deal of collaboration and liaison.

Agreed events for this incredible day of the visit on Monday 6th March included: –

  • Greeted the Ambassador and the Economic Consul at the railway station and escorted them to the High Wycombe Council Chamber building.
  • Met with and greeted the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of High Wycombe, Wycombe For Fairtrade Steering Group members, and Wayne and Sarah Coetzee, co-owners of Roast Lab, a local, independent, micro-roastery who roasted the green coffee beans.
  • Ambassador Ortiz engaged in a live Zoom meeting with Directors of CoopeVictoria Fairtrade coffee and sugar cooperative and the Deputy Mayor of Grecia.
  • Ceremoniously cut the Grecia – High Wycombe Fairtrade Towns Partnership Celebration cake with the Mayor of High Wycombe, Arif Hussain.
  • The Wycombe Mayors laid on a lavish lunch for the Ambassador and guests.
  • Conveyed the Ambassador of Costa Rica and the Economic Consul and Mayors of High Wycombe along with five Wycombe For Fairtrade Steering Group members to Highcrest Academy where Ambassador Ortiz: –
  • Met and greeted senior teachers and the Head Boy and Girl.
  • Delivered a 15-minute Powerpoint presentation about Costa Rican culture, geography, history, ecology, and the natural environment.
  • Presented the Grecia – High Wycombe Fairtrade Towns Partnership plague to the Mayor of High Wycombe. The Mayor in turn presented the Grecia –plaque to Highcrest Academy for their incorporation of Fairtrade into the curriculum, and for their outstanding work in establishing a strong and continually developing link with liaison, videos, projects, and joint lessons with pupils at the Colegio Experimental Bilingue de Grecia.
  • In co-ordination with Mike King, Ambassador Ortiz officially launched the Grecia – High Wycombe Fairtrade Towns Partnership Celebration Coffee with single-origin green beans supplied by CoopeVictoria and roasted locally by Roast Lab, a small, independent, micro-roaster near Gerrards Cross.
  • This medium-roasted arabica coffee was then sampled by teachers and some pupils, accompanied by the delicious Central American snack – “pan de elote”, a type of corncake.
  • Photographs and interviews with Bucks Free Press journalist. The whole event was recorded live by the Highcrest Academy Computer Technician.
  • Farewells and goodbyes at 4 15 pm.

Towards the end of the Big Fairtrade Fortnight Get Together, responders used the Zoom chat box to give their opinions and comments. After my 5 – minute resume of the Ambassador’ s visit, one responder stated, “That’s amazing work in High Wycombe – Inspirational.”

It was an extraordinary day, which all stakeholders involved could justifiably be proud.

Mike King,
Chairman, Wycombe For Fairtrade

UK Fairtrade Foundation Fortnight March 2023 – Wycombe For Fairtrade Activities and Events – 4

Visit of Ambassador Ortiz and the Economic Consul from the Embassy of Costa Rica on Monday 6th March 202 to the Mayor of High Wycombe’s Parlour and to Highcrest Academy in High Wycombe.

Wycombe For Fairtrade in association with the Mayor’s Office in High Wycombe had invited Ambassador Rafael Ortiz Fabrega from the Embassy of Costa Rica and his Economic Consul to visit High Wycombe on Monday 6th March 2023 with the intention of involving Ambassador Ortiz in helping High Wycombe celebrate High Wycombe For Fairtrade’s 4 year partnership with the Fairtrade Town of Grecia in Costa Rica, and with the neighbouring 3000 – farmer Fairtrade coffee and sugar producer cooperative, CoopeVictoria.

This event was recognised by the UK Fairtrade Foundation as a whole with a photograph of the mayor of High Wycombe, the Costa Rica Ambassador and the owners of Roast Labs – see https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/media-centre/blog/thank-you-fortnight-campaigners/

Organizing these events to bring together different stakeholders was an interesting challenge and involved a great deal of collaboration and liaison.  This was the highlight of Wycombe For Fairtrade’s Fairtrade Fortnight events. The list of activities surrounding the visit of Ambassador Monday 6th March 2023 are listed below.

  • Steering Group members greeted the Ambassador and the Economic Consul at the railway station and escorted them to the High Wycombe Council Chamber building.
  • Ambassador Ortiz was introduced to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of High Wycombe, Wycombe For Fairtrade Steering Group members, and Wayne and Sarah Coetzee, co-owners of Roast Lab, a local, independent, micro-roastery who roasted the green coffee beans.
  • Ambassador Ortiz engaged in a live Zoom meeting with Directors of CoopeVictoria Fairtrade coffee and sugar cooperative and the Deputy Mayor of Grecia.
  • His Excellency ceremoniously cut the Grecia – High Wycombe Fairtrade Towns Partnership Celebration cake with the Mayor of High Wycombe, Arif Hussain. This delicious cake was specially made by the Mayor’s Office and had the Grecia – High Wycombe Fairtrade Towns Partnership Celebration coffee bag details on the top of the wonderful cake.
  • The Wycombe Mayors laid on a lavish lunch for the Ambassador and guests.
  • At 1.45 pm. Wycombe For Fairtrade members and the Mayoral party conveyed the Ambassador of Costa Rica and the Economic Consul and Mayors of High Wycombe along with five Wycombe For Fairtrade Steering Group members to Highcrest Academy where Ambassador Ortiz: –
  1. Met and greeted senior teachers and the Head Boy and Girl.
  • Delivered a 15-minute Powerpoint presentation about Costa Rican culture, geography, history, ecology, and the natural environment which was very well received.
  • Presented the Grecia – High Wycombe Fairtrade Towns Partnership plague to the Mayor of High Wycombe. Mayor Arif Hussain in turn, presented the Grecia – High Wycombe plaque to Highcrest Academy for their incorporation of Fairtrade into the curriculum, and for their outstanding work in establishing a strong and continually developing link with liaison, videos, projects, and joint lessons, with pupils at the Colegio Experimental Bilingue de Grecia.
  • In conjunction with Mike King, Ambassador Ortiz officially launched the Grecia – High Wycombe Fairtrade Towns Partnership Celebration Coffee with single-origin green beans supplied by CoopeVictoria and roasted locally by Roast Lab, a small, independent, micro-roaster near Gerrards Cross.
  • This medium-roasted arabica coffee was then sampled by teachers and some pupils, accompanied by the delicious Central American snack – “pan de elote”, a type of corncake, made by two of Wycombe For Fairtrade Steering Group members.
  • During the coffee sampling, there was time for photographs and interviews with the Ambassador, Mayor of High Wycombe, and Mike King, Chairman of Wycombe For Fairtrade. There was even a live link with Maria Angela Zamora Chaves, the Sustainability Manager at CoopeVictoria. She commented that this was a special day because this was the first time that the “Monte Camejo” coffee had been roasted in the UK as a single-origin coffee. The Bucks Free Press journalist interviewed the main stakeholders and took many photographs. These appeared in a full-page colour article the following Friday, both in the High Wycombe and Marlow editions of the Bucks Free Press. The whole event was recorded live by the Highcrest Academy Computer Technician.
  • Farewells and goodbyes at 4 15 pm.

It was an extraordinary, incredible day, which the Mayors of High Wycombe and Grecia, CoopeVictoria Managers, Wycombe For Fairtrade, Roast Lab independent roasters, and Highcrest Academy pupils and teachers involved could justifiably be proud. Ambassador Ortiz enjoyed his day in High Wycombe and was very impressed with level of the Grecia – High Wycombe Fairtrade Towns partnership linking.

Mike King,
Chairman, Wycombe For Fairtrade

UK Fairtrade Foundation Fortnight March 2023 – Wycombe For Fairtrade Activities and Events – 3

Two weeks previously, Mike King had managed to contact via email and telephone, Wycombe Sound Community Radio Station, seeking some airtime to inform the local Wycombe population of the events, activities, and dialogue, Wycombe For Fairtrade had been engaged with over the past 18 months, and to promote the forthcoming visit to High Wycombe on Monday 6th March 2023, of Ambassador Rafael Ortiz Fabrega from the Embassy of Costa Rica, and the reasons and purpose of his stay in the town.

Liaison with one of the presenters, Colin Beasley resulted in a personal interview with him on his mid-morning show on Friday 3rd March 2023 at 12.30 pm to 12.55pm.

Colin asked Mike King some open and general questions about Fairtrade to remind listeners of main functions Mike King responded by focusing on the three principal roles of Fairtrade: –

  1. Targeting the injustices of conventional trade which has typically discriminated against the producers in developing countries, promoting better prices, better working conditions, and more sustainable practices, to make trade fair.
  2. The social, economic, and environmental standards enforced by Fairtrade protects workers’ rights and working conditions, ensuring a minimum price is paid to cover the average costs of producing crops sustainably, and providing an additional sum of money to communities referred to as the Fairtrade Premium, that farmers and workers can invest in community, environmental or business projects of their choice.
  3. The FAIRTRADE Mark is a registered certification label for products that have been certified in accordance with the stringent Fairtrade social, economic, and environmental standards. The FAIRTRADE Mark is widely regarded as the most recognised ethical label, with 93% of UK shoppers claiming to recognise the label, with 83% trusting it to decide whether a product is ethical.

Colin Beasley then asked questions surrounding the events and activities of Wycombe For Fairtrade Steering Group members had been engaged in over the last 18 months.

Mike King then gave a short summary of the activities and achievements over the last 18 months: –

  • Developing and strengthening our relationship with our partner Fairtrade Town of Grecia in Costa Rica.
  • Having regular 6-month Zoom meetings between the Mayors of High Wycombe and the Mayors of Grecia.
  • Collaborating with the Sustainability Manager of CoopeVictoria, the 3000- farmer cooperative Fairtrade coffee and organic sugar producer, to research, write, and edit a 15-page academic article entitled “Systems, Solidarity and Fair Trade”, which waspublished in the “Journal of Fair Trade” (Vol 3, No. 2 March 2022.)
  • Research work also began on a follow up, practical paper involving the interviewing of Fairtrade producer directors, World Fair Trade Organization representatives, and Fair-Trade Managers from the Caribbean and Latin America regarding 8 questionsa relating to inputs, processing, outputs, external barriers, outcomes, intermediaries, consumer sovereignty, and wholesaler feedback.
  • There was also development regarding a project to produce a CoopeVictoria single-origin, Fairtrade coffee using CoopeVictoria “Monte Camejo” green beans, which would be roasted in the UK for the first time. Wycombe For Fairtrade located an energetic couple who co-owned the micro-roastery, Roast Lab, near Gerrard Cross. Wayne and Sarah Coetzee carried out some sample test roasting, with very positive results and helped with the Grecia – High Wycombe Fairtrade Towns Partnership Celebration  Coffee bag design. This was ready for mass sampling at Highcrest Academy for the launch of the speciality coffee by Mike King and the Ambassador of Costa Rica at Highcrest Academy on Monday 6th March 2023.

Promoting the Visit of Ambassador Rafael Ortiz Fabrega from the Embassy of Costa Rica to High Wycombe on Monday 6th Mar 2023.

The highlight of Wycombe For Fairtrade 2023 Fairtrade Fortnight’s events is certainly the visit of Ambassador of Costa Rica to High Wycombe. This has involved a great deal of collaboration and liaison with all interested stakeholders during the past 6 months. The agreed itinerary for the visit on Monday 6th March is: –

  • Meeting the Ambassador from the railway station and escorting him to the High Wycombe Council building.
  • Meeting and greeting the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of High Wycombe
  • Engaging in a live Zoom meeting with Directors of CoopeVictoria Fairtrade coffee and sugar cooperative and the Deputy Mayor of High Wycombe.
  • Ceremoniously cutting the Grecia – High Wycombe Fairtrade Towns Partnership Celebration cake with the Mayor of High Wycombe, Arif Hussain.
  • Conveying the Ambassador of Costa Rica and the Economic Consul and Mayors of High Wycombe along with five Wycombe For Fairtrade Steering Group members to Highcrest Academy where Ambassador Ortiz would: –
  • Meet and greet senior teachers and the Head Boy and Girl
  • Deliver a 15-minute Powerpoint presentation about Costa Rican culture & life
  • Present the Grecia – High Wycombe Fairtrade Towns Partnership plague to the Mayor of High Wycombe.
  • In co-ordination with Mike King, officially launch the Grecia – High Wycombe Fairtrade Towns Partnership Celebration Coffee with single-origin green beans supplied by CoopeVictoria and roasted locally by Roast Lab, a small, independent, micro-roaster near Gerrards Cross.
  • This medium-roasted arabica coffee would then be sampled by all the teachers and some pupils, accompanied by the delicious Central American snack – “pan de elote”, a type of corncake.
  • Photographs and interviews with Bucks Free Press journalist. The whole event would be recorded live by the Highcrest Academy Computer Technician.
  • Farewells and goodbyes.

Mike King
Chairman Wycombe For Fairtrade

UK Fairtrade Fortnight March 2023 – Wycombe For Fairtrade Activities and Events: 2

Christ The Servant King Church, Community Coffee Morning. Big Brew Quiz. Weds 1st Mar 2023. 10.30 am – 12.00 noon.

Mike King, the Chairman of Wycombe For Fairtrade was asked by the Open Door Community Café coordinator, to run a Big Brew Fairtrade quiz during the middle part of the morning.

There were about 25 people arranged in 6 teams. Mike King as the question master asked a total of 15 questions relating to Fairtrade tea, Fairtrade fashion and clothing, and Fairtrade generally.

The teams had the 15 questions printed on an A4 sheet with three or four possible options.

At the end of the quiz, Mike King then revealed the answers to these Fairtrade questions.

The team with the most correct answers won a Fairtrade selection of chocolate bars. The teams had a very positive and sometimes noisy engagement, but it was all done is a positive and relaxed atmosphere.

Mike King was asked back by the coordinator to do another Fairtrade Quiz around November time, before Christmas 2023.

Mike King
Chairman, Wycombe For Fairtrade

UK Fairtrade Fortnight March 2023 – Wycombe For Fairtrade Activities and Events: 1

Christ The Servant King Church Sunday 26th March 2023. Fairtrade themed services.

Two Fairtrade themed services, one traditional and contemplative, the second more family oriented, were led by Reverend Chris Owen.

The traditional communion service contained two bible readings in the first service, three hymns, intercessions and prayers by Heather Serle, the licensed Lay Minister for Missions, Holy communion, and a talk by Margaret Dyke BEM, a Traidcraft Representative with over 25 years’ experience.  The prayers and bible readings contained many references to the call to help and assist people, especially those who are marginalized and lack opportunities. Many of the parables Jesus told had social justice as the bedrock.

The second service was more modern and family-oriented in scope, the Reverend Chris Owen again leading the worship, and making many links with Fairtrade and social justice. Heather Serle led the prayers and choruses, supported by the choir.

Margaret Dykes than gave a different talk about the recent news of Traidcraft going into administration, but the work of the Transform Trade charity goes on as does the wider Fair Trade movement.

Mike King, Chairman of Wycombe For Fairtrade, then gave a 15-minute presentation, reminding the congregation of the purpose of Fairtrade and the reasons why supporting fair trade is essential, allowing producers, workers, and artisans access to world markets, receiving a guaranteed minimum price for their products, and the Fairtrade Premium, paid to local communities to invest in their businesses, infrastructure projects, or improving health care or schooling.

Mike King then used a 15-slide Powerpoint presentation to relate the journey of a Fairtrade coffee bean from the coffee bush to the time it arrives in a Fairtrade coffee bag in the supermarket. The audience were thoroughly engaged.

Afterward Mike and Sheena King helped Margaret and Bill Dykes run a Fairtrade stall in the church foyer. This also included taking orders for Meaningful Chocolate Easter Eggs. This stall was well supported by the congregation making just over £500.00 in sales and orders.

Mike King
Chairman, Wycombe for Fairtrade