01 Dec 2021 AGM
Report of Keswick Fair Trade Campaign AGM
We held our AGM for 2021 on September 15th. No AGM was held in 2020 because of Covid, so we were especially pleased to be able to get together again and reflect on the activities of the campaign since 2019, and sketch out plans for the future.
We do not have a Chair at present because Anne Davies has moved away from Keswick: we are hopeful this is a temporary move and that she will return soon to the town and the Chair. Bernadette Fagan remains as treasurer and Jo Alberti as secretary: Bob Bryden, Anne Baird and Sheila Tolley are committee members.
A notable enterprise which has come to fruition is a sizeable wall hanging celebrating Fairtrade. Bernadette Fagan, the treasurer of the campaign, has played a significant role in its assembly. It was created by individuals and groups from around Cumbria. It is very delicate so there are challenges in showing it in public, but we are hoping to display it at an exhibition we are preparing for to be held in Keswick Museum.
In Fairtrade Fortnight 2020 Jo Alberti gave three assemblies at Keswick school, thus speaking about Fairtrade – briefly – to 1,200 children. We are very happy to have made a connection to the school after some years of missing this vital link.
Bernadette has again used her creative skills in redesigning our campaign leaflet: this is now in the capable hands of Joe Human who designed the original and will complete B’s work: it should be ready for any events such as the Victorian Fayre which we look forward to participating in.
We focused briefly on this website and the gallery of striking photographs taken in Choche, Ethiopia where there is a Fairtrade Coffee Farmers Co-operative with which the campaign has had a link for many years. This led Patricia Howell to tell us of the most recent report from Rotary of the loans which have been made to the Co-operative. These loans have given the village a huge economic boost: the loans for initiatives taken by women have transformed their lives.
A separate leaflet summarising the ways Fairtrade is helping farmers to adapt to climate change will be given out from the Sustainable Keswick Great Big Green Week stall on Saturday September 25th. If you look around you in the town you will see posters drawing attention to these vital benefits.
We were happy to welcome to the AGM Markus Campbell-Savours who represents the Town Council on the Committee. He is an Allerdale Borough Councillor as well and wondered whether there was some way in which we could make the most of the fact that the ABC is signed up to Fairtrade. This question was put to Martin Sleath who is Chair of Cumbria Fair Trade Network and also the representative of the North on the Fair Trade Foundation National Campaigner Committee: Martin will see if campaigners in other areas have been able to make the most of their local councils.
AGMs are well worth while and indeed enjoyable when there is such a variety of themes demonstrating the wide and vital contribution of Fairtrade both to farmers in the South and indeed to our lives here in the North.
The campaign has designed a new leaflet which will be available to distribute in any public event which we hope will be happening in the year to come, for example the Victorian Fayre. We are also looking forward to the re-opening of the Alhambra Cinema when the short film about Fairtrade which accompanies all showings will again be on show.
Members of the campaign have been working closely with Sustainable Keswick on calling attention to the climate crisis and what can be done to confront its impact. At the end of Great Big Green Week [September 18th – 25th] campaign members will be on the Sustainable Keswick Market Stall, giving people information on this vital aspect of Fairtrade.
Producers in poor countries in the South are already suffering from the impact of climate change: those who are able to sell into the Fairtrade market will have some benefits which will help them to adapt. Environmental protection is ingrained in Fairtrade: farmers have to improve soil and water quality, manage pests, avoid using harmful chemicals, manage waste, reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and protect biodiversity. The farmers themselves have been using their premiums to develop ways of saving water to cope with the threat of drought. They have also been encouraged to grow trees alongside their crops and have received training in switching to environmentally friendly practices. Posters calling attention to these aspects of Fairtrade practice have been placed in venus which support Fairtrade in Keswick.
At the end of the AGM everyone who attended was determined as ever to continue to encourage buyers to source Fairtrade products whenever they are available.