Fairtrade Fortnight offers at the supermarkets

18 February 2013

pile of bars_smallBecause it’s Fairtrade Fortnight we’ve set up some fabulous special offers at the supermarkets. Here are all the details!

Sainsbury’s: It’s buy two bars for £3 on all 100g bars at Sainsbury’s. Sainsbury’s stocks our dark chocolate with raspberries, 85%, 70%, ginger & orange chocolate and our milk chocolate bars. The offer is on now until 5th March.

Tesco: There’s 25% off all our 100g bars at Tesco. Tesco stocks our 70%, ginger & orange chocolate, dark chocolate with raspberries and our white chocolate with strawberries. The offer is on from 27th February until 26th March.

Waitrose: There’s 25% off all our 100g bars at Waitrose. Waitrose stocks the following flavours: 85%, ginger & orange chocolate, white chocolate with strawberries, milk chocolate, orange chocolate, 70% and dark chocolate with raspberries. The offer is on now until 12th March.


A cocoa farmer remembers his first trip to UK

29 June 2012

Elias Mohammed took his first flight out of Ghana this year to join Divine Chocolate as an ambassador for Kuapa Kokoo  on a tour round UK for Fairtrade Fortnight.  Here he remembers his impressions of the visit:

Elias Mohammed

Elias Mohammed by his scales at Bayerebon3 (photo: Kim Naylor)

Bayerebon No. 3 society, where I am recorder sees a lot of visitors from all over the world every year! People in my village always asked me one question I was never able to answer “da ben n’abrofo be ba abe fa wo ako won kuromu?” (when will the whites invite you to their country)? I had heard many tales of how beautiful “Abrokyire”(abroad) is and I always imagined myself there.

My dreams came true early this year when I was selected to participate in the Fairtrade fortnight! I was so excited. My wives were elated when I informed them about the trip. I was in high spirits until I was refused a visa! I thought that was the end but thanks to Divine Chocolate, I was eventually issued a visa after an appeal. This problem cut short my stay by two days!

 The flight was good and the food was even better. I thought the Airport in Ghana was big and beautiful until we reached Heathrow. I couldn’t believe my eyes! It is so big, beautiful and busy!  David of Divine Chocolate whisked me immediately to my hotel after going through immigration process.

My days in the UK were very interesting. I met many people: Fairtrade officials, other producers like me, school children etc.  We had a very busy schedule travelling from place to place in England and in Scotland to attend events and give speeches. I really enjoyed the encounter with school children. The enthusiasm of the supporters of Fairtrade and their love of Divine Chocolate encouraged me to always produce beans that are Pa pa paa (best of the best!).

Elias asked if he could visit a farm – here he is with Agnes and Wendy meeting Martin at Ripple Farm in Kent

Elias talking to pupils at Dunbar Primary School

Upon my return to Ghana, everyone calls me “Burger” (a term used to describe people who have just returned from abroad). I feel proud when people call me that. I admit I would have liked more time to go shopping and more sight-seeing,  but I think  my trip was very successful.

The high point of my visit was people smiling and saying thank you after my presentation.

 


Cocoa farmers get to see a UK farm in action

13 March 2012

Latest post from Tom Allen of Trading Visions:

While here in UK for Fairtrade Fortnight, Elias and Agnes had asked if they would be able to visit a farm.

We were able to set up a visit to Ripple Farm, a small organic farm situated in the Stour Valley in Kent. The owners Martin and Sarah were kind enough give up a few hours of their Sunday afternoon to show us around and explain how everything works.

Martin cuts some beetroot for everyone to try

Martin cuts some beetroot for everyone to try

It was great to see Elias and Agnes in the fields of Kent. When Kuapa Kokoo farmers visit, they generally get to visit all kinds of amazing places – from company offices, to town halls, to schools, to national civic buildings – but they rarely ever get into the countryside. Here they were in their element: talking to a farmer like themselves.

They fired off questions at Martin as we walked around Ripple Farm: how do they do the weeding, how many people work on the farm, how many vegetables are cultivated, what sort of equipment and machinery do they use…

Comparing the impact of the seasons and the weather in the UK and Ghana was a recurring topic of conversation. As we stood looking at several rows of leeks, the cocoa farmers were amazed to hear that most of them had been planted twelve months earlier.

“In Ghana,” said Agnes, “I plant maize and three months later I harvest it.”

Martin from Ripple smiled ruefully as he explained that when they plant maize for corn on the cob they will harvest one round of corn each year, and only if it is warm enough.

We walked though a field of brassicas, tasting leaves from various kinds of cabbage, curly kale and cavolo nero. We dug up a swede – Elias thought it was much like yam. We uncovered beetroot from under a winter bed of straw. The farmers observed that you didn’t need to keep crops warm like that in Ghana. They tried beetroot for the first time and thought it was delicious.

Ripple Farm also rent a beautiful Victorian walled garden up on a hill, with a stunning circular wall around it. Here they grow salad leaves in various old greenhouses. One of the greenhouses contained a warm and humid plant raising nursery, which the cocoa farmers loved.

Elias was very interested in exactly how Martin sells his vegetables. Do buyers come to the farm? Do they haggle? Martin explained that they take the vegetables to shops and farmers markets, locally and in London. He tends to set the price, and the English don’t go in for much haggling!

The cocoa farmers enjoyed climbing on the big potato harvester and admired Martin’s vintage 1950s tractor. Despite the fact that Ripple Farm is actually a small, low tech, labour intensive farm by British standards, Elias and Agnes remarked on how many machines there were compared with their own farms in Ghana where the only tool is a machete and everything is done by hand.

Afterwards, Martin and Sarah treated us to a delicious lunch and we took the train back to London.


What was so nice about Fairtrade Fortnight

14 March 2011

Fairtrade Fortnight is the most full-on and extraordinary two weeks of our year (not to mention all the time planning it) and we, and the farmers, meet more fantastic people in 14 days than one would hope to in a whole year. It’s exhausting – but amazing.  (And big thanks to Tal for co-ordinating the whole thing)

Catching up with some sleep on the train to Oxford

While the wonderful events and brilliant audiences are what we hope and aim for – it can be some of the small things that create some of the best memories.  Here are some of mine….

Harriet and Fatima learned to say “Fabulous”, “Marvellous” and “Outstanding!” while they were on this trip – for example when they really mastered going up and down on the escalators – Harriet announced they were “Outstanding!!”

It was some of the people we just bumped into by chance that gave us a real feelgood experience – like the ticket man at London Bridge tube who was really interested in who the farmers were and why they were here, and said how many of his friends were Ghanaian and how great he thought Fairtrade was.  And Giles the sound engineer at BBC who connected the interview down the line with “Costing the Earth” – who confessed he was an enormous Divine fan.  And the Hungarian girl working in the Bermondsey Street Teapod who was amazed to be introduced to two of the cocoa farmers behind Divine – “it’s my absolutely favourite chocolate,” she cried, “and I should know, I have tried them all!”.  (Nice to be able to tell her you can now buy Divine in Hungary).

Meeting up with other producers is always special too – Harriet and Fatima were introduced to Dyborn from Malawi (where the nuts for Harry’s Nuts come from) – and there’s an instant affinity between fellow Africans and fellow farmers.

And finally – on our last afternoon together (returning from a mega shopping session in town) – great excitement behind me and lots of pointing.  They had spotted a squirrel and their immediate response was to ask if we could kill it for bush meat.  I had to concur about the frequent desire to kill squirrels (from a gardener point of view) but not so sure about the bush meat part of it…. we left him to cause more havoc in South East London.


Kuapa farmers meet Nobel Peace Prize winner

6 March 2011

Fatima and Harriet, continuing their tour as ambassadors for Kuapa Kokoo and Divine Chocolate, joined up with PeaceJam in Bradford, and met Betty Williams a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and Chino, a fairtrade blueberries producer from Chile.

Harriet and Fatima - with Betty Williams (left) and fellow Fairtrade farmer Chino


Celebrating Divine Women for Fairtrade Fortnight

27 February 2011

This year we’re Celebrating Divine Women for Fairtrade Fortnight – the amazing women who have supported Divine (and those who just loving eating it!) here in the UK and Ireland, as well as the women of Kuapa Kokoo who’ve been empowered by their organisation and grasped new opportunities with both hands.

Tal at Divine HQ has done an incredible job of putting the Divine/Kuapa roadshow together –  this year we’ll be taking in Liverpool, Warrington, Bradford and then heading south to Oxford, Cardiff and London.  Not only that – but we’re combining both a celebration of Fairtrade and the centenary of International Women’s Day – hopefully throwing in some partying for Ghana Independence Day too. (Find out more about the tour here)

Everything kicked off early this morning with the arrival of Fatima Ali and Harriet Boatemaa at Heathrow – two young cocoa farmers on their first trip out of Ghana – and full of amazement and curiosity about everything they see.  First plane, first escalator, first brick houses, first very fat black cat..lots of firsts.

I thought this was an apt spot to take a picture of Fatima and Harriet

Tomorrow they’ll be coming in to meet everyone at Divine – and then off to their first Fairtrade Fortnight event in Greenwich.  I left them watching The Railway Children in their hotel – and excited about all the new experiences to come. 

Harriet and Fatima at Tower Bridge

We’ll be aiming to blog, tweet and post on Facebook as much as we can while we’re on our travels. Really hope you’ll all join in.


A Divine Fortnight finale in London

9 March 2010

Emil Sands receiving his award from Comfort and Kojo

A very early start on Friday – heading up to Hampstead to visit University College School – for a special reason.  We were there to hand over the prize for the winning poem in this year’s Divine Poetry Competition.  The winner Emil Sands (age 11) had a vague notion something might happen but his classmates were blissfully ignorant – and amazed to find two cocoa farmers and a load of chocolate in their form room as they arrived!  Emil read his poem aloud – the farmers thought it was amazing – and we answered lots of questions about how cocoa grows and all the reasons to choose Divine and Dubble.  We also handed over some Dubble Gold Sport Relief chocolate medals – as they had lots of Sport Relief events planned.  A great start to the day.

It got better – we popped into Body Shop Hampstead – and I introduced the farmers (Kuapa Kokoo supplies all the cocoa butter that goes into Body Shop products). The girls there knew all about Kuapa and were absolutely thrilled, and showered the farmers with gifts to take home to their families.

Then on to Premier Christian Radio for an interview with Bridgitte Tetteh.  That was great fun – lots of laughing – and Kojo and Comfort broke into song. They included an item on their regular news bulletin about the farmers all day and still to broadcast the full interview – will add a link when they do.

Comfort and Kojo 'fly' on the Eye

On Saturday morning – a trip on the London Eye which was a really big hit!! (Note to self – must go up on it myself sometime!!). Then on to Chiswick (my home town) and sampling all afternoon at As Nature Intended and Eco-Age. Supper at Nando’s (Peri peri chicken wings) and on to St Michael’s and All Angels where Chiswick Churches for Justice and Peace had organised a Ghanaian spectacular – to celebrate both Fairtrade Fortnight and Ghana Independence Day.  There was an exhibition of Ghanaian artifacts and history + work by Ghanaian artists.  A full house, Ghanaian music, a great presentation by Kojo and Comfort – and a real revelation moment when the audience realised that Divine is not only Fairtrade – but also 45% owned by Kuapa Kokoo. A real reason to choose Divine – and to keep campaigning for a fairer deal for farmers.

Introducing the Fairtrade concert at the Barbican

On Sunday it was a concert at the Barbican – as part of the Do Something Different weekend. The whole place was heaving with children doing artwork and taking part in all sorts of projects.  Young people from City youth groups had worked really hard on their own compositions inspired by Fairtrade and they performed them beautifully. I was really moved and so were Comfort and Kojo – who said how pleased it made them to see young people caring about Fairtrade.  All their families came along and they were so proud.  A fantastic collaboration by Corporation of London, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Barbican. Thank you to everyone who came along. It was really special.

The team behind the Barbican Fairtrade concert

Reverend George Bush from the City of London Fairtrade steering group

 


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