To Fair-trade or not to Fair-trade

Day 3 in the £1 a day house.

Today I felt richer than I have ever felt in my life. Not an exaggeration. And all because after lunch, I realised I was left with 60p for supper! Who knew what I could do with that amount of pennies.

I decided to splash out and make something I’ve been craving all week – banana chocolate pancakes!

However, I was now faced with a moral dilemma. I knew that I could afford to make the pancakes, no problem. Flour, eggs and sugar are relatively cheap. However, Fair-trade bananas and Fair-trade chocolate, both products I have started to choose to buy, are significantly more expensive than regular bananas and chocolate.

Since watching the film ‘Black Gold’ about exploitation of coffee farmers in Ethiopia, I have made a conscious effort to choose Fair-trade products when shopping. After all, I can’t go into schools and teach children about the value of a society which has fair and equitable trade with others when I am not practising what I’m preaching.

Yet, when living on £1 a day, I found myself doubting my choices. I really really wanted the banana chocolate pancakes. And surely banana and cocoa farmers aren’t really going to be affected by my one small banana or my one tiny bar of chocolate.

Then I remembered the lesson I recently taught in the Reception class of a local Jewish primary school with Tzedek and JSAF (Jewish Social Action Forum) colleagues.

Teaching Fair-trade to 5 year olds is difficult. 5 year olds don’t even know where their food really comes from. One bright child told me that his bananas were grown in Morrisons.

We started the lesson by playing lego. Each group of 4/5 children were given a few pieces of lego and told to build the biggest tower they could build. The tallest tower would be the winner! Little did the children know, that their mean teachers had giventhem all different amounts of bricks. Some children had lots of bricks and some children had only a few. This wasn’t fair, they cried! (Literally).

Ah yes children, you’re right! Sometimes things aren’t fair. And what should we do to make things more fair? Give everyone the same amount of bricks! What a novel solution to a complex trade issue.

Although this is not exactly what the Fair-trade campaign is attempting to portray, remembering this analogy and how the children knew that it was obvious to try and make things fairer reminded me today why I am living on £1 a day and why I have been choosing Fair-trade products.

So I compromised. I bought one cheap non Fair-trade banana, and one bar of more expensive Fair-trade Cadbury’s Dairy Milk.

Here was my menu today:

Breakfast – 2 weetabix (9.8p each), no milk

Lunch – carrot soup (20p) and 2 chapatis (2.4p)

Supper – Banana chocolate pancakes! (54p)

Chocolate square – 6.7p each, banana – 8p, flour – 6p, egg – 14p, sugar – 8p, milk – 11p

TOTAL: 96p!!

I haven’t decided what I’m eating tomorrow, but it’s getting harder and harder to make the effort to calculate my food. And I’m not gonna lie, it’s getting harder and harder as I get hungrier and hungrier!

But every time someone donates, it makes it all worth it. Thank you SO much to all of you who have read my blog and donated, it really means a lot to me to have your support.

If you haven’t already, please sponsor me!

To find out more about Fair-trade, click here:

Check out Fair-trade Kippot!


One response to “To Fair-trade or not to Fair-trade

  1. Excellent! I knew that lesson would get through to someone! Chocolate-banana pancakes sound yum – hope they tasted good! Keep up the great work 🙂

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