Every year during Fairtrade Fortnight, shoppers are encouraged to remember exactly where their food comes from.
No, not the supermarket. But Caribbean plantations, Kenyan farms and paddy fields in Thailand.
Places where food producers can’t assume they’ll be paid a decent, living wage by corporate suppliers.
Such commercial exploitation is the reason the Fairtrade Foundation was set up a decade ago: to guarantee farmers would be paid at least the global market value for their goods, plus a Fairtrade premium that could be spent on business development.
So far, 408 companies in the UK have signed up to a Fairtrade agreement, and more than 4,500 products bear the symbol.
But while the demand for fairly-traded products has increased dramatically since the logo first appeared in 2002, in these times of austerity Fairtrade Fortnight is keen to highlight budget-friendly ways shoppers can support the cause.
Consumers are being encouraged to take small step and replace their usual choices with ethical brands.
“Taking a step for fair trade this Fairtrade Fortnight is a really fun and effective way to bring about positive change to the lives of the farmers who produce the goods that end up on our shop shelves,” says Harriet Lamb, executive director of the Fairtrade Foundation.
“I have met sugar farmers in Malawi who, with the Fairtrade premium, have been able to provide safe, clean water for communities, buy iron roofing for houses, pay children’s school fees and provide electricity to villages. In Belize, sugar farmers have funded education programmes and in Paraguay the wider community now has improved health services.
“To start the day, you could eat a nourishing bowl of Fairtrade cereal or drink a glass of Fairtrade fruit juice.
“Chomp on a Fairtrade banana at lunchtime or nibble on some Fairtrade nuts.
“And at the end of the day, you’ll be celebrating your steps with a glass of Fairtrade wine or a bar of delicious chocolate.”
SRI LANKAN CURRY
50g sun-dried pineapple, 2tbsp vegetable oil, 1 small onion, finely chopped, 2 bay leaves, 2 stems of lemon grass, very finely chopped, ½tsp crushed chilli flakes, 1tsp chilli powder, 1tsp paprika, ½tsp mustard seeds, crushed, ½tsp turmeric, 500g organic prawns, 200ml tinned coconut milk, ½tsp fennel seeds, 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped, 1tsp salt, juice of 1 lime, bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
Soak the sun-dried pineapple in enough water to cover it, for 10 minutes, and then drain.
Fry the onion in the oil with bay leaves and lemon grass. Add the chilli flakes, chilli powder, paprika, mustard seeds, turmeric, salt, soaked pineapple and prawns.
Cook for five minutes.
Pour in the coconut milk. Sprinkle with the fennel seeds and simmer for five minutes. Before serving, add lime juice to taste, and garnish with red chilli and coriander.
Serve with rice.
2 endives, 4tbsp olive oil, grated rind and juice of 1 medium orange, 2tbsp of white wine vinegar, 1tbsp tomato puree, 1 large clove garlic, crushed with a pinch of sea salt, 75g sun-dried apricots, 50g roasted apricot kernels
Wash, rinse and chop up endives and place in a salad bowl. Mix the oil, orange rind and juice, vinegar, tomato puree and garlic together in a separate bowl, and fold the resulting dressing into the salad.
Chop up apricots into 1cm pieces. Fold the apricot pieces and apricot kernels into the dressed salad, saving a little to decorate the top of the salad.
MTEDZA SAVOURY RICE
125g thick-cut streaky bacon, cut into 1cm cubes, 2tbsp vegetable oil 1 large red onion, thinly sliced, 1/2 green chilli, sliced, 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped, 1 large breast chicken, cut into medium-sized chunks, 400g basmati rice, 700ml chicken stock, handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped, 4tbsp peanuts, 1 green pepper, sliced small, half a spring onion, sliced, squeeze of lemon, salt
Take the raw peanuts and roast them in a 170C oven for about 20 minutes, to get their colour darker and bring out the flavour.
Leave to cool then blend, leaving a few whole, for the topping. In a large cooking pot, heat the oil and fry off the bacon until golden.
Stir in the red onions and sweat down for a further five minutes, then add the garlic and green chilli.
Stir in the diced chicken and rice and fry everything for a few minutes, making sure the rice doesn’t stick, then add the stock and a little salt and put a lid on it.
Simmer for 10 minutes, then turn the heat right down and leave for another 10 minutes.
Stir in the ground peanuts, half the pepper, spring onion and coriander, and season with more salt to taste.
Serve, finishing with the remaining green pepper and coriander, plus a squeeze of lemon and a final scattering of nuts.
450ml orange juice, juice of 1 freshly squeezed lime, 2 Earl Grey tea bags, 150g dried mango,100g sun-dried apricots, 2tsp honey, 600ml creme fraiche or Greek yogurt, 250g amaretti biscuits
Pour the orange and lime juices into a small pan. Add the Earl Grey tea bags and bring to the boil.
Stir, remove from heat and add the mango and apricots. Leave for 30 minutes.
Remove the tea bags, add the honey.
Simmer again for 15 minutes and allow to cool overnight.
Crush the amaretti biscuits to form a base in your glass bowls, place the compote on top of this and top with a spoonful of creme fraiche or yogurt.
For more information about Fairtrade Fortnight, visit www.fairtrade.org.uk/step and for recipes and fair trade ingredients visit www.tropicalwhole foods.com