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Showing posts tagged “wine”

My hero has fallen to an eternal sleep. He was a father of a nation, a global icon. Madiba’s ideals and actions for a fair and just society which he was prepared to die for, has personally affected me and opened so many closed doors.

I can truly say Nelson Mandela has allowed me to travel the continents of the world, and now my quest is to continue his legacy through a Fairtrade business to touch the lives of as many other desperate people in search of that better life.

Vernon HennVernon Henn is the Managing Director of Thandi Wines, a Fairtrade winery in South Africa. Thandi is owned by 250 farm-worker families who hold 55% shares in the company.

Great little film about Fairtrade wineries in Argentina and how they are working to make sure their small businesses survive. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, it’s great footage!

After four days of training - administrative work, financial management and more - workers from the DeGoree Farm in South Africa were ready for some light relief. They surprised Fairtrade Liaison Officer Malin Olofsson asking her to teach them the ‘Fairtrade Dance’.

"I had never actually heard of the this dance that had been created by our friends at the Fairtrade Foundation in the UK, but the workers were aware of it and wanted me to teach them,” Olofsson said.

You can learn the Fairtrade Step too, just click here.

Sports clubs, computer literacy training, crèches, a leadership training camp…Bosman wine estate’s Fairtrade project report makes for impressive reading! All these projects were organized by the Joint Body: a committee made up of workers and management on Fairtrade estates and plantations, which manages the Fairtrade Premium money and consults with their fellow workers on the best way to spend it.One particularly interesting initiative is a gardening competition: Workers compete for prizes for best ornamental garden and best food garden. As well as creating a sense of pride in their homes and community, the competition also helps the workers to grow their own fruit and vegetables and become more self-sufficient. The winners receive vouchers for the local garden centre, or gardening equipment to spruce up their gardens further.Cilmor wine estate’s Joint Body travelled to Bosman’s to get inspiration for their own Fairtrade projects…and they certainly weren’t disappointed. They came away with many new ideas to share with their fellow workers and a much broader view of what is possible with a committed and hard-working Joint Body.Read more about the Cilmor exchange visit here.

Sports clubs, computer literacy training, crèches, a leadership training camp…Bosman wine estate’s Fairtrade project report makes for impressive reading!

All these projects were organized by the Joint Body: a committee made up of workers and management on Fairtrade estates and plantations, which manages the Fairtrade Premium money and consults with their fellow workers on the best way to spend it.

One particularly interesting initiative is a gardening competition: Workers compete for prizes for best ornamental garden and best food garden. As well as creating a sense of pride in their homes and community, the competition also helps the workers to grow their own fruit and vegetables and become more self-sufficient. The winners receive vouchers for the local garden centre, or gardening equipment to spruce up their gardens further.

Cilmor wine estate’s Joint Body travelled to Bosman’s to get inspiration for their own Fairtrade projects…and they certainly weren’t disappointed. They came away with many new ideas to share with their fellow workers and a much broader view of what is possible with a committed and hard-working Joint Body.

Read more about the Cilmor exchange visit here.

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Malin Olofsson, Fairtrade liaison officer in South Africa joins Fairtrade wine producers on a journey of discovery….

 “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

Exchange visits are a great way of involving producers in a more active approach to learning. To see what other farms have achieved and to learn from their struggles, mistakes and achievements is an invaluable experience.

Workers from Cilmor wine farm in South Africa were recently able to benefit from such a visit. Having been inspired by stories from other Fairtrade farms at a workshop, they wanted to go and see their projects first-hand. So they planned it into their budget, and I happily accompanied them on their trip!

First stop was Fairhills, another wine farm in the Western Cape. They shared about their many various projects to date, giving details about the process and challenges along the way. What was most interesting for the Cilmor group was to find out just how much support, both in cash and in kind, they have being able to leverage as a result of being Fairtrade certified. By approaching individual retailers and government departments they have received funding for specific projects such as a library, computer centre and building a primary school. This means they can use their Fairtrade Premium income to fund the day-to-day running of the projects.

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They have even been able to hire a psychologist and set up a rehabilitation programme: a really valuable investment for a community where alcoholism is rife. This approach left the Cilmor visitors with much food for thought.

Team GB athlete Goldie Sayers supports our Team Fair campaign

Great news here from the Fairtrade Foundation. If you Tumblrs are following along, you should probably follow this blog too.

fairtradeblog:

Team GB athlete Goldie Sayers with Vernon Henn, General Manager at Thandi Fairtrade wines, South Africa

Whilst training in South Africa, Team GB athlete and the UK’s leading Javelin throw Goldie Sayers spent her one day off at Thandi, which became the first Fairtrade certified wine in 2004. Goldie is supporting Fairtrade food being part of the catering operation at the London 2012 Games.

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New Wine, New Hope For Lebanese Farmers

Visiting Lebanese wine cooperative les Coteaux d’Heliopolis, I’m struck by the beauty of the area. Small vineyards are dotted across the landscape, from the Bekaa valley up to the steep mountain side, where snow still lies on the tops, even though it’s 25 degrees in the valley. The high altitude, combined with the virgin, unpolluted soil, give the grapes their unique taste and aroma.

But it’s not just the quality of the wine that makes Heliopolis so special. It’s also the story of the farmers who produce it – and their determination to build a better future for the region through Fairtrade.

Georges Fakhry is one face of this story. Georges tried cultivating a number of different crops over the years. Like many farmers in the region that also included cannabis. But it’s only after switching to wine grapes that his fortunes started to change.

“Finally, a crop that grows well here and can help us”, says Georges. “Wine doesn’t need much water, so it is perfect for here. With cannabis there was no transparency, no visibility. That’s different with Fairtrade. We know exactly what is expected of us and what we can get out of it. Everything is clear.”

The cooperative is growing and now has 250 members. Currently, almost all of them nearly all the members are over 45 years old. Many young people have left the area. Even those who do stay may get caught up in the spiral of illicit crops, as many from the older generation have already experienced.

But through Fairtrade, the farmers want to show them that there is a future for this region – and it doesn’t have to be in cannabis.

Interested in stocking Coteaux d’Helipolis wine? Contact Chiraz Skhiri c.skhiri@fairtrade.net and Benoit Berger, b.berger@fairtradelebanon.org 


Vicky Pauschert from our Communications team and Regional Coordinator Chiraz Skhiri visited Lebanon for the country’s first Fairtrade Fortnight – bringing together Fairtrade Lebanese producers, and consumers. Read all our posts on the trip so far here.

We are proud to see our wine on sale here today, and soon it will be available in countries like the UK and Japan. Thanks to Fairtrade certification we can reach new markets and have a sustainable crop that brings new hope to our region.

Chehade Maalouf, member of Coteaux d’Heliopolis cooperative who recently became Fairtrade certified. Here he is pictured at the Fairtrade Brunch for World Fair Trade Day in Beirut (top photo, far left) and at his home village in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.

Chiraz Skhiri from our producer relations team (pictured, centre) supported Heliopolis through the certification process, in partnership with Fair Trade Lebanon. To find out more about our services to producers, click here.

More about our visit to Heliopolis coming soon!

Our partner Fair Trade Lebanon is hosting its first ever Fairtrade Fortnight – bringing together Fairtrade Lebanese producers, and consumers. Vicky Pauschert from our Communications team and Regional Coordinator Chiraz Shkiri are helping organize the events and adding an international voice to the celebrations.

With the Lebanese Minister of Environment sitting next to me and a camera from a national TV station focussed in on us, I was feeling a little nervous about my speech at the press conference.

But seeing the encouraging, smiling faces of the producers who had travelled so far to get here I found my voice. 

The press conference marked the launch of Fair Trade Lebanon’s first ever Fairtrade Fortnight – a massive effort on their part to get the word out about Fairtrade to the city of Beirut and beyond.

It’s a sign of their determination that both a prominent government minister and a member of the French embassy spoke at the conference – and praised their work so far. The event even made it onto national television and local newspapers.

But for me it was the producers who made the event. The farmers spoke to journalists about their struggles, and the support they receive through Fairtrade. Wine farmer Sami Rahmé from les Coteaux d’Héliopolis asked the Environment Minister some tough questions about the government’s lack of support for Lebanese wine producers. That’s Fairtrade at its best – giving farmers the opportunity to make their voices heard.

And this is just the beginning. A massive Fairtrade brunch, a flash mob at a large supermarket and a round table with business and farmers are all still to come.

If you’re in Lebanon or know people who are then come and join us!

Find out more about the upcoming events on Fair Trade Lebanon’s Facebook page or website.

Fairtrade breakfasts and brunches around the globe this week for World Fair Trade Day on 12 May. Find out how you can get involved here.

Nathi Tshabalala, one of Fairtrade’s liaison officers in South Africa recently helped a group of fresh fruit farm workers to go on an “exchange visit” to several farms in another part of the country. The second part of their visit takes them to a newly Fairtrade certified group:

For the final part of our visit we went to Linton Park Wines in Wellington, a farm set in lush green hills and a beautiful setting.

This time it was Eve Brand’s turn to take the lead: Linton Park just had their first FLO-CERT audit last month, whereas Eve Brand has been Fairtrade certified for a few years now. I thought it’d be great for them to benefit from Eve Brand’s first hand knowledge and support. The members of Eve Brand’s Workers’ Committee gave some really useful insight into how they set up their Committee, and helped the Linton Park workers think about how to run elections and get people involved. 

The workers’ committee (WC) is particularly important as it is only composed of workers and negotiates with management to defend the workers’ rights and interests.  It’s a bit difficult for the workers to set up at first and to understand their rights and responsibilities, but once they do it is it’s a powerful tool for them, especially when they can interact with other WCs.

The exchange came to a close and everyone got ready to take the long journey back to the Eastern Cape. Everyone felt that the visit was very eye-opening and deepened their understanding of what needs to be done. At every farm we were shown around and got to see their production and projects first hand. Some farms even had their own guest house, or biodiversity projects. But most importantly, exchanges like these mean workers can communicate directly with other workers and can help, support and encourage each other. I was so delighted to see the Chair of the Eve Brand Workers’ Committee exchanging numbers with the shop steward at Erfdeel farm. Contact like that is invaluable for the learning and self-help process.

Everyone was for the idea of annual exchange visits like these. I will definitely incorporate them into my workplan for 2012.

 

An eye-opening journey for Fairtrade fruit pickers

Fairtrade International’s network of locally based liaison officers help producers to get Fairtrade certified and support them in their development path.

Nathi Tshabalala, one of Fairtrade’s liaison officers in South Africa recently helped a group of fresh fruit farm workers to go on an “exchange visit” to several farms in another part of the country. Here are some of his highlights from the visit :

There is an African saying that goes: “Travelling is an eye-opener”. My grandmother taught me that if you learn alone and in your own surroundings, you become intelligent; however, if you travel, see places, meet people, engage – you become wise.

So when the workers from Eve Brand Farms came to me, wanting to use part of their Fairtrade Premium to visit other South African Fairtrade estates, I was delighted to help them organize it.

The ten workers travelled 600km from the Eastern Cape in their farm van for the exchange.Everyone was excited, and eager to see what they could learn from other Fairtrade farms. Most of them had never travelled out of their province of birth before.

First stop was Koopmanskloof in Stellenbosch. Their Fairtrade officer, Peter Titus, gave a presentation about the farm and highlighted the achievements of their CEO: Rydal Jephta was born and bred on a farm himself, but now heads the whole estate, one of the most successful in South Africa. The lesson to all was: “Where you are is not your destination, just a resting place. Your attitude will determine your altitude”.

Our second visit took us to Piketberg to visit Erfdeel Farming Trust. What I like about Erfdeel is that the workers run the Fairtrade activities themselves and do not rely heavily on the farm management. This day was no different; we were welcomed by the Chairperson of the Joint Body (which represents workers and management) and got to meet with just the workers. I took a back seat and allowed the workers to interact and discuss topics that are important to them –there was a flurry of chatter and people exchanging ideas and experiences.

It just goes to show how much workers can achieve when they are able to connect and learn from each other.

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