Worm poop update: no poop.

Fairtrade Fortnight is upon us. From 22 February to 7 March the Fairtrade Foundation will be working its Fairtrade cotton socks off to persuade the people of earth to stop being shitty to each other.  Fairtrade is a novel idea that suggests instead of screwing over the world’s poorest people for trainers and chocolate we should instead pay them enough to live.

I went to a Fairtrade event in Zero City this afternoon. I’d been to this thing about five years ago when Fairtrade was much more a gimmick than it is now, but at this thing today you’d think there had been no progress. It was still the same free samples of orange juice, still the same handouts of tea bags. Still the same earnestness. The interpretive dance was new.

It just felt very small. There have been huge advances in the last few years. It’s now a serious economic model, an £800 million a year industry, not a minority interest for people wearing felt. We are not going to convince disinterested people of its merits through interpretive dance! Interpretive dance! It’s about as helpful as vegetarianism being represented by an unwashed lentil-eater in a hemp suit. Or PETA.

Actually, big stuff is happening out in the mainstream world. Dairy Milk is Fairtrade now! Kit Kats are Fairtrade now! Starbucks is the largest purchaser of fairtrade coffee beans in the world! Ten days ago Ben and Jerry’s announced their ice cream will be 100% Fairtrade throughout Europe by the end of 2011 and globally by the end of 2013!  A couple weeks ago I bought a Fairtrade syrup sponge from a supermarket! Fairtrade sponge! From a supermarket!

The theme for this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight is The Big Swap, encouraging people to switch day-to-day items to Fairtrade alternatives. In Zero Towers we’ve already swapped everything we can which risks this Fairtrade Fortnight becoming something of anti-climax and this entry becoming a waste of my time and yours. If I can’t make any more switches I’ll have to see if I can persuade other people to.

We’re halfway through the fortnight; I’ve got 7 days left to do something useful…

Photo credit: Apple