Fair trade in Chesterton: One Step at a Time

fair tradeIt’s FAIRTRADE FORTNIGHT – always a busy time for me and for other members of the Cambridge Fair Trade Group. On Tuesday morning, I caught an early bus to Chesterton Community College, to meet their staff and talk to their Year 11 students about the Cambridge Fair Trade Group.

I was welcomed with a big smile and a steaming mug of fairtrade tea by Chesterton’s Head of Humanities Kath Hutchinson, who told me all about the school’s journey towards fairtrade school status … ‘one step at a time’.

There’s a lot on. Also this week, Chesterton will be welcoming Jennifer Day of Traidcraft, and holding a fair trade tea party with cakes and Green & Black cookies. It all sounded extremely chocolatey and scrumptious.

The fair trade campaigners hope that the school canteen will soon be selling fair trade products, and I hope to be able to go back and give them one of our Fairtrade Cambridge window stickers.

The school is taking a holistic approach, integrating fair trade into several areas of the curriculum – geography, RE, PSE, art and even maths, where fair trade comes into play as a model for percentage calculations.

A large mural will show the progress the school is making towards the five objectives set by the Fairtrade Foundation, integrating the steps theme.

But the big story, announced at the assembly after I had spoken about how we had achieved fairtrade city status and how we keep it, was school uniform. The school staff are to be applauded for having persuaded their existing supplier, Total Promotions of Peterborough, to offer fair trade uniforms – meaning other schools will benefit too. This will send a message not only to every pupil but also every parent who washes the uniform.

Fairtrade Fortnight is busy as I mentioned earlier: Cambridge Fairtrade Group’s next event is a Fair trade Wine-tasting tomorrow evening, at Anglia Ruskin University, where we are hoping to bring together different fair trade and ethical campaigners in Cambridge. Chesterton have promised a strong contingent of tasters, so I look forward first to seeing them tomorrow, and longer term, to watching their progress towards Fairtrade School status. Well done to everyone!

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