We're very excited this Fairtrade Fortnight. Each year we work hard to promote Fairtrade products, especially so during these two weeks, and we have some very special guests arriving on campus to talk to us about Fairtrade during the campaign.
On Wednesday 9 March at 1.30pm we'll be hosting an afternoon of special events in The Edge.
We'll hear talks from Michael Gidney, the chief executive of the Fairtrade Foundation, and Ana Maria, a Nicaraguan Fairtrade producer. There will also be short films, presentations and a panel discussion.
Michael Gidney became Fairtrade Foundation CEO in December 2012, having previously been deputy executive director from 2009. He sat on the Fairtrade board between 2002 and 2008. Before working with the Fairtrade Foundation he was a teacher in Kenya.
He said, “Fairtrade can provide farmers and workers with the skills and confidence to secure significant benefits for their communities.
“We have made fantastic progress over the last few years in taking the idea of Fairtrade to the mainstream, but there is much more still to do. Too many producers are still too vulnerable to the volatility of globalised trade.
"We need to reach more farmers and workers in developing countries, with tools that are relevant to them today, and to do that we must find new ways of engaging more UK companies.”
One of those farmers in developing countries is Ana Maria Gonzalez Narvaez, a 56-year-old Nicaraguan Fairtrade coffee and cocoa farmer.
Ana Maria is in Bristol for two weeks, invited by the Bristol Link With Nicaragua and Bristol Fairtrade. She'll be visiting schools in the city, and on Wednesday 9 March she'll be here at the University of Bath, talking to us in The Edge about her experiences and how Fairtrade has helped her.
Ana Maria is a single parent. She's already raised her own, grown up son, but she also looks after two younger children for her neighbour. She is a member of the Julio Hernandez Co-operative which is made up of 42 small-holder farmers and was set up in 2002 as part of the SOPPEXCCA union of co-ops.
Ana Maria also grows beans and corn on her small-holding and keeps goats.
This is her first time travelling outside Nicaragua, so we hope you all give her and Michael Gidney a big University of Bath welcome.
1.30pm to 2pm: Welcome and introduction by Pro Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lambert. Presentation by Ana Maria.
2pm to 2.25pm: Michael Gidney talk. Introduced by Mayor of Bath.
2.25pm to 3pm: Discussion of University of Bath Fairtrade work by Iain Davies. Showing of Roy Maconachie’s Fairtrade film.