This year we celebrated Fair Trade Fortnight from the 6th to the 22nd of May. Fair Trade Fortnight is an annual celebration of all things fair trade and the difference that choosing to buy fair trade products makes for the farmers and workers in developing countries.
Commonsense has very close ties to the fair trade movement in New Zealand. The first Trade Aid store in Wellington was started in 1974 by our co-founders Jim Kebbell and Marion Wood. The store was called Every Little Body and was upstairs in the Resistance Bookshop - on Christmas Eve the store sold a whopping $90 worth of fair trade goods. The Trade Aid stores that we know today look very different, but the goal is still the same - to make a difference in the world through the promotion of socially conscious shopping and fair trade.
There has also always been a link between fair trade and the organic food movement. In the 1960's when chemicals and pesticides were introduced to help yield bigger crops, small scale farmers were often forced into debt to afford the expensive new technology; this in turn led to entire families being forced into bonded labour. Communities in developing countries found that returning to traditional, organic farming methods helped to break this harmful pattern, and that these methods were rejuvenating and improving their land. This meant that most often it was the small scale farmed, fair trade coffee and tea that was eligible for organic certification.
Commonsense participated in many exciting Fair Trade Fortnight events this year. We had a fair trade hamper giveaway for each of our six stores, jam-packed full of exciting fair trade goodies. We also took part in a stall at the Wellington City Library on World Fair Trade Day, educating the public about the importance of fair trade and displaying some of the wonderful fair trade products that we stock. Marion Wood spoke at a fair trade evening hosted by the Sustainable Business Trust, alongside other prominent Wellington fair trade business leaders.
Wellington has been a fair trade city since 2009, and was the first fair trade capital city in the Southern Hemisphere; we're so proud to have played a part in the fair trade movement, and are excited to see what happens in the future. Buy fair trade - it's just common sense.