A special visitor joined in with Fairtrade Fortnight celebrations in Stamford and Rutland.
Esther Koskei, chairman of the Kabng’etuny Women in Coffee Association in Kenya, has been in the East Midlands to promote Fairtrade produce and tell people what a difference it makes to the lives of the farmers and producers of Fairtrade goods.
On Saturday, she visited the area and her first stop was Second Helpings, based at Barn Hill Methodist Church in Stamford.
The cafe, which operates on a pay as you feel basis every Saturday, attracted a much larger audience than usual and the visitors and regular guests were interested to hear Esther describe the trials and tribulations of producing coffee, in particular dealing with the challenge of climate change.
Having achieved Fairtrade status she, with support from the Fairtrade Foundation is trying to find buyers willing to support a Fairtrade producer.
George Hetherington, who organised the event as a member of the Fairtrade Stamford group, said: “Esther coped very well having only arrived very recently in this country, delayed by visa problems, and not being used to public speaking and microphones. Many visitors not knowing much about Fairtrade asked her many questions after her powerpoint presentation.”
Other events last week and this week have included a talk by local farmer John Downs, who spoke at Stamford Arts Centre about his tour in Thailand, Cambodia and China to see how Fairtrade works; and Dine with a Difference - an annual event at New College Stamford, which includes a meal cooked by the students. Members of the group have also been at Stamford Station talking to early morning commuters about Fairtrade.
Esther also stopped by at a Fairtrade Big Brew event at Oakham Methodist Church on Saturday, which also attracted a good crowd.
Esther also met young people at Catmose College and answered their questions.
To conclude the fortnight, there is a Big Brew event today at The Well, Stamford Methodist Church. As well as a good cup of tea or coffee, Fairtrade of course, homemade cakes will also be on sale between 10am and midday.