Friday, January 24, 2014

Why Now Is the Time to Start Drinking Fair Trade Coffee

by Kelsey Timmerman Author, 'Where Am I Eating?' and 'Where Am I Wearing?' 

Image via stock.xchang -

This was one of the thoughts racing through my head as I straddled a shivering coffee tree on a steep, crumbly volcanic mountainside in Colombia's Narino district. However, mostly I was thinking: "Don't die! Don't die!"
The "grande gringo" as I became known to my coffee farmer hosts did not fall to his death, but, following my visit, coffee prices did.
In 2012, while I traveled to Honduras and Colombia researching my latest book Where Am I Eating? An Adventure Through the Global Food Economy, the global price for a pound of coffee beans stood at $1.60. By November of 2013, prices fell to $1.00 per pound -- a six-and-a-half year low.
When I read the reports of the low prices, I couldn't help but think of Felipe Ordonez, the Colombian farmer who allowed me to molest his trees. Felipe is a wiry man who bound up and down his sloped mountainside of coffee like a billy goat. Like other farmers around the world, Felipe was concerned about the changing climate. (On my global farming adventure, I met farmers on four continents and not a single one of them was a climate change denier.) His crop, facing wetter wet seasons and drier dry seasons, was threatened by coffee rust and beetles.

Friday, November 22, 2013

How Does Oxfam Unwrapped Work?

When you buy an Oxfam Unwrapped gift, your donation helps support Oxfam Australia’s life-changing work around the world. And the person you’re buying the gift for will receive a clever card explaining how their gift is helping others. Your tax-deductible donation will fund a range of projects that your gift represents. As you review all the gifts available, you’ll note that each gift belongs to a theme. When you buy a card, you’ll be contributing to a range of projects of that theme. So goats, for example will help fund our agriculture projects. We never actually ship goats overseas, but all our gifts are real items that we use to fight poverty.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Anne Batt – Gets a medal for 52 years of volunteering with Oxfam

On World Humanitarian day, August 19th Anne Batt received a medal in recognition for 52 years of volunteering for Oxfam from The Minister for International Development, Melissa Parke.

The theme for the day was we need more…and Minister Parke very aptly suggested we need more Anne Batts’.

Anne Batt first volunteered in Hobart in 1961 for the Freedom from Hunger Campaign doorknock appeal, and has been a member of local Oxfam/Community Aid Abroad group for most of the time since 1963.

Over the last 52 years Anne has organised many events, doorknocks, walks, dinners, talks, exhibition and stalls both as fundraisers, and to raise awareness of campaigns such as Close The Gap and Make Poverty History.

Anne served for 20 years (1987-2007) on the Oxfam WA State Committee including terms as Treasurer and Chairperson and served on the National Executive /Board of Directors for 17 years (1984-2007).

While on the National Executive /Board she took on responsibilities as chairperson for the ‘Freedom From Hunger’ campaign (1990-1992) as well as roles as Deputy Chair of the Board and Treasurer of Oxfam.

Anne is a founding member of the Oxfam Mandurah group and the Fairtrade WA Oxfam group and plays a key role in the group’s Fairtrade shop.

Anne also plays a key role organising Oxfam volunteers from the state office.

World Humanitarian Day usually recognises just the work of Humanitarian workers overseas. It was fantastic to see an extraordinary life-times dedication to humanitarian issues get recognized from such a committed volunteer as Anne in Australia.

We are all very proud of what she has achieved and what she continues to achieve.

Posted on Oxfam 26 August 2013

Friday, June 21, 2013

Support the Bangladeshi factory workers

The Rana Plaza factory collapse, in which more than a thousand people have lost their lives, is the most recent example of a series of similar tragedies throughout the past decade. Poor working conditions and hazardous factory environments are commonplace in the Bangladeshi garment sector. The AUD $37 a month minimum wages in Bangladesh are amongst the lowest in the region.

Since the factory collapse, more than 50 companies have signed onto the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord including H&M, Inditex (Zara), Primark, C&A and Tesco. I call upon all clothing companies to publish the location of their supplier factories as it will mean that any NGO, union or researcher can verify that the workplace is safe and workers are receiving a living wage.
So far major Australian clothing retailers 
Kmart, Target, Cotton On and Big W have failed to sign up to the Accord.

I call on Kmart, Target, Cotton On and Big W to: 

  • Immediately sign on to the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord;
  • Publish the names and addresses of all supplier factories (Nike, adidas, Puma, Timerland and Levis are already doing this);
  • Ensure that all workers making your products receive a living wage;
  • Ensure all workers making your products are free to join a union and collectively bargain in the workplace.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Whats so 'Fair' about FairTrade?

While we all can recognize and identify with ideals behind the Fairtrade mark, how is it really helping make the world we live in a better place for everyone?

The Guide to Fairtrade 2013 by Blue and Green Tomorrow, includes polarizing answers to the question.

Read the articles; 'Fairtrade is a unique model for change' by Martine Parry and equally thought provoking article 'FairTade cannot change the existing trade regime.' by Dr Sushil Mohan.