Make a song and dance about Tonbridge’s first Fairtrade Fortnight
by Andy Tong | 22nd February 2019
TONBRIDGE will be marking Fairtrade Fortnight with an exciting programme of events celebrating its inaugural year of involvement in the scheme.
The town achieved Fairtrade Town status last October 2018, so that it is now recognised by the Fairtrade Foundation as a community that cares about the products they buy.
It also demonstrates that Tonbridge is dedicated to working with poor farmers and others to help them build their economic viability.
The public should be on the lookout for the Razzamataz Theatre School students, who will be performing a flash mob dance at a location close to the High Street at 2.30pm on Saturday March 9.
On the previous Saturday [March 2] there will be a number of buskers performing outside the Oxfam Shop on the High Street.
There will also be a public meeting the evening before [Friday March 1] in the Castle Chamber at Tonbridge Castle.
The Senior Policy Manager at the Fairtrade Foundation, David Taylor, will give a presentation at the gathering, which starts at 7pm.
Mr Taylor will talk about the Foundation’s campaign ‘She Deserves a Living Income’, which is calling on the chocolate industry and government to enable cocoa farmers to escape poverty and earn a living wage.
There will be an art exhibition at the Angel Centre from Thursday February 28 curated by Sarah Spence and Victoria Casillas.
It will be based on their recent Terra Nostra display, which was held at Tonbridge Creates pop-up installation on the High Street.
The Tonbridge Town Team welcomed the plans to mark the occasion, and its chair Howard Porter said: “We are delighted that Tonbridge has become a Fairtrade Town and that, this year, we will be taking part in Fairtrade Fortnight.
“This is an important time of the year for us as it provides an opportunity to raise awareness of what Fairtrade is and the work that is being done around the world to improve conditions for small-scale farmers in the developing world.”
He explained: “By buying Fairtrade, shoppers here in Tonbridge can contribute to this and help 1.6million farmers trade their way out of poverty.
“The Fairtrade mark is not only a guarantee of quality but also an assurance that products have been ethically sourced.”
Thirty performers from Razzamataz will be taking part in the flash mob, and the theatre school’s principal, Eve Aston, said: “We were delighted to be invited by the Tonbridge Town Team to be involved in these celebrations.
“We have some students dancing who have just turned six – and this will be their very first time performing in public – and also others up to the age of 15.”
She added: “All of my students are aware how fortunate and privileged they are to be involved in this community event.”
Cllr Georgina Thomas, who has organised the buskers, said: “It’s great to get local artists involved in Fairtrade Fortnight.
“The singers will be setting up outside Oxfam in the High Street performing a mix of covers and their own original material.
“Not only will they be promoting a good cause but all the busking tips will go straight to the artists too – in true Fairtrade style”
Cllr Frixos Tombolis, who chaired the steering group that co-ordinated the campaign to achieve Fairtrade status and raised support, paid tribute to the efforts of Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council [TMBC].
He said: “The council has supported Fairtrade in a number of ways – passing a resolution, setting up and administering the Fairtrade steering Group, successfully submitting the Town application and part-funding activities and promotions.”
Ethically sourced products
Fairtrade helps small-scale farmers ensure they earn decent, stable incomes and have long-term contracts with companies.
In addition, they earn the Fairtrade Premium, which they invest in vital business, social and environmental projects.
Today, more than 1.6million farmers and workers across 74 developing countries have the chance to trade their way out of poverty and benefit from the international Fairtrade system.
By purchasing Fairtrade products, shoppers help these farmers while also buying quality products that they know have been ethically sourced.
The Fairtrade mark independently certifies that products meet economic, social and environmental standards, making it the most widely recognised ethical mark worldwide.
Main retailers selling Fairtrade goods
Marks and Spencer Foodhall and Café, Cannon Lane
Waitrose, Sovereign Way
The Co-operative, Martin Hardie Way
The Co-operative, York Parade
Sainsbury’s, Angel Centre
Sainsbury’s Local, Shipbourne Road
Lidl, Quarry Hill Road
Aldi, Cannon Lane
Hilden Lisburn BP Garage (M&S Simply Food), Tonbridge Road
Greggs, High Street
Starbucks, High Street
Basil, High Street
The Bakehouse at 124, High Street
Beyond the Grounds, River Walk
Fairtrade Fortnight buskers
Saturday March 2, Oxfam Shop, High Street
10am-12pm: Ryan Weeks – Heavily influenced by Otis Redding and James Taylor with a touch of indie rock mixed in he has appeared many times on BBC Radio Kent.
12-1pm: Lee Willz – rapper, singer-songwriter from Tonbridge who won a global competition against thousands of other bands at the 02 in London he has released two brand new singles, YDKM and Like That.
2-3pm: Kiah Spurle – Tonbridge singer who has found popularity on YouTube with her covers of songs by pop stars like Sia, Adele and John Legend. As a stage actress she has appeared in productions like The Dreamers.