Fairtrade – is it Fair to All?
Random Musings and
Honey, Banana & Blueberry Breakfast Buns
Good morning! Before I have all of the Fairtrade supporters wading in to admonish me, let me explain, and VERY quickly, that I AM a Fairtrade supporter myself! But, I also feel a certain amount of unease on a more personal level about Fairtrade for all…….let me explain. Fairtrade is a foundation that highlights and fights for better prices, better working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world…….and, that is GOOD of course. And, it’s that ethos that encourages me to purchase Fairtrade on a regular basis, but, the available house-keeping money I have for food and beverages dictates that I can’t always buy Fairtrade, and that’s the basis of my post today.
So, back to the discussion, is Fairtrade a “middle class” product in the UK? Is it only the wealthier shoppers that have a conscience and can purchase Fairtrade productions? I often think that it’s the case that only the more “well-heeled” have the purchasing power to buy “ethical” ingredients, and it’s such a shame on TWO fronts. Firstly, the obvious reason is that many people are unable to afford Fairtrade products which ultimately SUPPORT the farmers and workers in the developing world, and secondly, those that cannot afford to buy Fairtrade products are usually the shoppers who themselves are struggling to make ends meet, maybe a family of four on a very low-income……..and just because they are poor, does not mean that they may not want to support the Fairtrade foundation, but they are not in a financial position to do so.
The reason this discussion has “rattled my cage” is down to a rather heated debate I had with a “smug” friend of mine, who whilst sitting in her tastefully and expensively decorated living room, sipping Fairtrade coffee, implied that there some of us who are “not doing our bit” to support those in the developing world. Well, I would LOVE to buy Fairtrade all the time…..and I DO buy Fairtrade bananas, sugar and coffee (those are the ingredients that I use a lot) whenever possible, but I am more inclined to try and support my local food community, as well as Fairtrade now, and it really is all down to the pennies in my purse and also trying to support local businesses…….so, does that make me a bad person?
Let me just reiterate, I am a BIG supporter of Fairtrade, but, and this is a big but, is it in danger of becoming a middle class brand that is only financially available to the more affluent? Can a family of four living on the lowest wage, and JUST above the poverty line, realistically afford to buy that wonderful bag of coffee that makes you feel better when you drink it, because you know that in some small way you have helped a struggling farmer in the developing world; or, should they just concentrate on putting the best food they can afford on the table to feed their children, and, does their poverty make them less socially aware of the problems and inequalities in other countries? It’s a difficult debate, and one that continues to occupy my mind……….
Back to my recipe, which was made with some Fairtrade bananas that I bought from Morrisons – I was able to buy two bags for £2, which is a win win situation all around! I also used Fairtrade sugar too, as I do like to buy the basics from Fairtrade whenever I can afford them. These little breakfast buns are so easy to make and would be a fabulous addition to your children’s lunch boxes…..they are packed with delicious blueberries as well as some local (Yorkshire) blossom honey. I was very pleased with this new recipe that I developed, and these wee breakfast buns disappeared in a trice over the weekend. As these have Fairtrade bananas and sugar in them, I am entering them into the latest Breakfast Club over at Fuss Free Flavours which is highlighting Fairtrade this month – PLUS, as they contain an “H” in their title and are baked, that means that I can also enter them into Ros and Caroline’s Alphabakes event for May, as the letter is H! I will be back later today with my Meal Planning Monday post, but I will warn you that Monday’s lunch has already been taken care of, as my parents are treating us to fish and chips in Scarborough today! See you later…….Karen