Fairtrade Fortnight at John’s!

Written by Lexi Jones

Fairtrade fortnight ran from the 21st February to the 7th March. With events including a formal, quiz and some delicious cocktails, not to mention five giveaways! A personal highlight was definitely the Ben & Jerry’s at the formal.

Fairtrade at John’s is especially significant, but for more on that please have a read of the article by the man himself, Richard Adams: https://johnschronicle.org/2022/02/12/a-footnote-in-the-history-of-fair-trade/

For more on Fairtrade currently in John’s who better to hear from than the Fairtrade Reps themselves:

Hi! We’re Lucy and Eryn, the two Fairtrade reps for this year. We’re both in our fourth year at John’s, with Lucy doing her Masters in History and Eryn completing the final year of a Modern Languages degree.

Lucy and Eryn, the Fairtrade Reps

Fairtrade is important to us because… well, why wouldn’t it be? Poverty wages, exploitation and abuse of workers, horrible realities of modern-day trade agreements, but Fairtrade actively tries to support and empower agricultural and textile workers in the global South, to ensure that they are treated fairly and with dignity. Fairtrade also goes beyond merely guaranteeing “fair prices” which do not change with the global market, but works to invest in the development of local communities, in education, in movements empowering women, and so much more. It works to care for both people and the planet, combining justice for its workers with an approach more ecologically sound than the “normal” industrial ways of farming and producing goods.

Fairtrade started at John’s with Richard Adams in the 60s. It’s crazy to think that this global movement began where we’re currently studying. It’s also inspiring to realise the effect that the choices and ideas of individuals can change the world for the better. We hope that John’s commitment to Fairtrade will not waver in the coming years and that the college will continue to produce forward-thinking, globally-minded graduates who are compelled to work towards a fairer, more equal world.

In our first and second years, resident tutor Dani O’Hagan supported and encouraged us to pursue Fairtrade within college. It was her commitment to the movement, carried over from her time working at the John’s Fairtrade shop as an undergraduate student, which was particularly motivating and inspiring. Her energy and care were so valuable to the Fairtrade working group. The shop closed in the mid-2000s, but maybe eventually in the future, some Johnians will revive it!

Our favourite part of the formal has to be Richard’s speech; he spoke about wanting to live a good life and to make a difference. This spoke to us – why would we want to contribute to harmful industries, or to pursue profit whilst blind to the people we are exploiting along the way? When we are Richard’s age, we hope to also be able to say that we tried our best to support those in need and to promote good and sustainable ways of living. The Fairtrade Ben and Jerry’s was pretty good too.

We really encourage people to run for the role(s) of Fairtrade rep. You can do it alone or with a friend (or two, or three!) – it’s good fun, and it’s important work. There’s also a massive inflatable banana thrown in for good measure. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions!

Seems that the ice cream was a hit with everyone!

Next year’s reps have some shoes to fill! As I’m doubtful they’ll be able to top this years, not least because I won a Café dral voucher from one of the giveaways, so feel especially made up. Fairtrade is so important and hopefully, the college will continue to support such a worthwhile cause for years to come.

For everything Fairtrade at Johns follow the Instagram @fairtradeatjohn

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