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

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