Fairtrade fast

02 November 2006

IT IS not really an adequate diet, but for two weeks the Revd Chris Howson, assistant curate of Tong and Holme Wood in Bradford, decided to eat and drink almost nothing but Fairtrade produce for the entire 14 days. He lost weight, he told me, and seemed on a constant high from too much sugar and carbohydrate. It was a mixed blessing when children kept bringing him Fairtrade cakes.

The hardest deprivation was the lack of meat and vegetables, but he had lots of fruit, pasta and rice, as well, of course, as tea, coffee, and chocolate (he had given up alcohol for Lent). He tried to eat one new Fairtrade product each day, and was glad when he found a variety of beans to vary the rice, and mango chutney to liven up the pasta.

But the highlight of his fortnight was to meet a coffee-grower from Ethiopia who said that Fairtrade prices had enabled four new schools to be built in his area, and that he was able to pay his workers enough for them to send all their children to school.

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