Castleisland is now officially the 50th Fair Trade town in the country and only the second in Kerry – Tralee is the other.
Castleisland Community College received confirmation from Fair Trade Ireland that it has been achieved by the work put in by the Transition Year students at the college and their teachers, Doreen Killington and Elaine Murphy in particular.
There have been many activities undertaken by the students as part of the guidelines to becoming a Fair Trade town. They undertook market research to ascertain the percentage of coffee shops and restaurants that supply either fair trade tea or coffee.
Bewley’s Coffee which supplies many of our coffee shops and restaurants is all fair trade and it has resulted in 67% of our coffee shops and restaurants supplying either Fair Trade tea or coffee.
The students undertook a major advertising campaign including the promotion of Fair Trade chocolate at Christmas.
Leaflets were distributed around the town. Workshops were presented to junior cert classes and primary schools. A Fair Trade bake-off proved a great success.
Local businesses such as AIB; Castleisland Chamber Alliance; SuperValu and Castleisland Tidy Towns were instrumental in helping the students achieve the Fair Trade town status as were the coffee shops and restaurants locally.
Councillor John Joe Culloty, a past pupil also provided essential backing. Without the support of this wider community their goal would not have been achieved.
“The town was privileged to have a visit from Fair Trade Ireland including Juliet Arku-Mensah from Ghana who works on the Vrel Banana Plantation Co-Op,” said Ms. Killington.
“The co-op supplies bananas to Fair Trade and she relayed how supplying to Fairtrade has given the workers and their families the mere basics to survive.
Invested in Community
“Fair trade pays a premium to the co-op and this is invested back into the community by the Vrel workers.
“The Fair Trade premium has allowed the Vrel co-op to build classrooms for their children instead of having them sitting under trees.
“They built toilets for the community instead of using a hole in the ground. Mosquitoe nets were bought so that people are covered during the night.
“Fair trade provides equality to women by paying a maternity wage to female workers. Scholarships are provided to promising students. 90% of the people working in the co-op cannot read or write.
“The premium is now educating workers to become literate. The value of this visit cannot be underestimated as a learning tool for students.
“Fair Trade is a topic in many subject areas at both junior and leaving certificate level eg CSPE, business and geography.
“The topic was brought to life for students as they learnt about it with an authentic Fair Trade worker.
“Fair Trade products are available in all our supermarkets eg tea, coffee, bananas. We have the power to make a difference when we shop.
Look for Fair Trade Logo
“Fair Trade does not cost any more than other brands. It just means that more of the profit goes back to the farmer. Just look for the Fair Trade logo on products and be the change you wish to see in the world,” Ms. Killington concluded.
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