It’s Fairtrade Fortnight now – from 23rd February to 8th March.

Fair trade products and practices have been an area of interest – passion? – for me for a good while now.  We buy fairly traded produce at home where we can, and the origins of what we buy has become more important for us as the years have gone by.  I was given pause for thought by Fourth Space the other day when he hinted that (and I might be extrapolating here so forgive me if this is a bit of a misinterpretation) the origins of our food is a middle class concern – and perhaps even a middle class luxury.  He’s got a point in terms of the accessibility and affordability of food which is local, organic, and yes even fair trade – all of these factors can make an item more expensive.  In the case of fair trade it almost inevitably will, surely?  Because low prices for the consumer will mean less than a living wage for the original grower or maker.

So why do I think fair trade is important?  I read God 360 last night and it reflected on Proverbs 31: 8 & 9

Speak up for the people who have no voice,

for the rights of all the down-and-outers.

Speak out for justice!

Stand up for the poor and destitute”

(from “The Message” paraphrase by Eugene Paterson)

God 360 went on to reflect on the voiceless nature of the world’s working poor, and connected them with the fairtrade movement and how this enables them to form trade unions to barter for better working conditions and to get a fair price for their work.  So for me, and for so many other, fair trade is not just an ethical concern, it’s a spiritual one.  As Rob Bell says, everything is spiritual.

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