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: –
- 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.
Chairman, Wycombe For Fairtrade