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The Fair Traders Co-operative celebrate British Food Fortnight
Co-operatives UK member, The Fair Traders Co-operative joins in celebrations of British Food Fortnight - with a Malawi twist!
Customers of The Fair Traders Co-operative and visitors to Holmfirth Food and Drink Festival made a huge difference this weekend by buying enough fairly traded rice to pay for two children in Malawi to go to school for a year.
The Fair Traders Cooperative launched its Fair Trade Rice Challenge at the start of September, with the goal of selling 90kg of rice during the month and another 90kg over the weekend of Holmfirth Food and Drink Festival.
90Kg is the amount of fair trade rice a Malawian rice farmer needs to sell to pay for one year of secondary education for his or her child. High school education is not paid for by the government in Malawi, and yet those children who attend high school are more likely to find a way out of poverty.
The success of the challenge saw over 100kg of rice being sold at the festival alone. When added to sales from The Fair Traders Cooperative shop and online store during September, a total of 193kg has been sold – enough for two farmers' children in Malawi to receive a year's education.
The challenge was supported by Cllr Eric Firth, Mayor of Kirklees, who bought a bag of rice and encouraged others to do the same. Cllr Firth was speaking at the start of a cookery demonstration by members of The Fair Traders Cooperative, in which a tasty dish of 'Feel Good' Malawi Chicken with Rice was prepared by Malawian cook, Maggie Codman. Mark Lewis, a Director of The Fair Traders Cooperative, told the story behind each of the fairly traded ingredients used in the dish, and an appreciative audience got the chance to try the delicious results of Maggie's cooking.
Brightly coloured footsteps on the street encouraged festival-goers to 'take steps towards making a difference', and drew them from the cookery demonstration to The Fair Traders Cooperative shop, where the fair trade ingredients for the 'Feel Good' chicken are available to buy. People were invited to hear more about the life of Malawian rice farmers and the difference it makes to their lives to be able to sell their produce at fair prices, during a presentation at The Fair Traders Cooperative shop by John Riches of Just Trading Scotland, which imports the Kilombero rice on which the Rice Challenge was based.
A celebration of the success of the challenge followed on the second day of the Food and Drink Festival, with a local African drumming band drumming up further support for fair trade and the Frumptarn Guggenband arriving at The Fair Traders Cooperative to trumpet the success of the Rice Challenge. Children were invited to make rice shakers from recycled junk, people were dancing in the street and rice sales in the shop continued to rise! The challenge doesn't end there however – buying Kilombero fair trade rice makes a positive difference to Malawian farmers at any time and this high quality rice is always available to buy from The Fair Traders Cooperative shop or its online store at www.thefairtraderscooperative.co.uk.