How Green Is Your T Shirt? Join in our Great Big Green Week project

Climate change is the biggest challenge facing humanity.

Fairtrade Fortnight 2021 had the theme Climate, Fairtrade and You and featured a huge range of online events with a focus on how climate change is affecting farmers and workers in low income countries.

I was particularly moved by the event with photographer Sean Hawkey who has travelled extensively in Honduras, Nicaragua and other countries hit by flooding, landslides and droughts.

You can watch it here:

So the opportunity to build an event for the Great Big Green Week in September was too good to pass up.  As a seller of fair trade fashion accessories I have a real interest in sustainable fashion and while climate activists rightly focus on the emissions from transportation of goods and people around the world, the real carbon footprint of what we buy is more complicated than the emissions taken to ship or fly it around the world.

Great Big Green Week 18-26 September 2021

How Green Is Your T-shirt?

The problem

The fashion industry accounts for 8% of all climate emissions, more than the entire economies of the UK, France and Germany combined. And most of it is completely unnecessary. In the UK we buy four times as much clothing as we did in the 1990s. Even then it’s estimated that around 30% of all the brand new garments in UK shops – garments made by people working for poverty wages in low income countries is never even sold. Imagine working really hard to bake a cake, and when you hand it over, a third is simply rejected and thrown in the bin. How would that make you feel?

Climate change and fair trade are inextricably linked. The effects of climate change are being felt now in the low income countries where fair trade organisations, farmers, workers and artisans operate.

The background

In October 2019 Fairtrade Yorkshire took part in the Fairtrade Foundation’s Make Your Mark challenge, creating the Fairtrade mark in the form of a human mosaic featuring almost 200 volunteers in Hull’s Trinity Square.

The image is great and enduring. It is used regularly in Fairtrade Foundation communications. The aim was a zero waste event. Dozens of crafters were involved in knitting and crocheting hats for the volunteers, which were later donated to a local charity working with homeless ex service people. The sky blue T shirts and hats were part of the uniform of the Absolutely Cultured volunteers (a legacy of the Hull City of Culture in 2017). The black T shirts were official Fairtrade mark T shirts and have been used to great campaigning effect in the months since.

Photo credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

But the 44 green T shirts – Fairtrade cotton, sustainable and ethical but only worn once. For less than half an hour. Not sustainable. A bit of a waste. What to do?

The project

The Great Big Green Week is an initiative from the Climate Coalition – an umbrella group of organisations which campaign on climate, the environment and human rights. The Fairtrade Foundation is a member.

Groups are encouraged to host events across the week in September highlighting the need to tackle the climate emergency.

For more details visit:

How can you help?

We’re looking for 40 textile artists, crafters, fashion students and artisans to upcycle the green Fairtrade cotton T shirts and create a piece of wearable art with a message about climate change, fair trade and you. Joanna will post you a T shirt to upcycle and you have all summer to create your piece. Whether you use embroidery, applique, screen printing, block printing, fabric paints or any other textile craft, we want you to get as creative as you like. Each T shirt should become a wearable comment on the climate crisis, fair trade, fast fashion or whatever aspect of the campaign inspires you.

We’re hoping to involve makers from all around the UK and even around the world in a celebration of all the ways fashion can be part of the solution rather than the problem of climate change.

The garments will be gathered together and styled with fair trade clothing and accessories, second hand and “model’s own” clothing – after all, the most sustainable item is one you already own. We’ll recruit a diverse cohort of models – different body shapes, race, age, disability, gender – and put on a fashion show during the Great Big Green Week in September. We welcome 1-2 minute video diaries from the artists as they make the T shirts, and will give you plenty of opportunities to tell your story about why you wanted to take part. People who have made a garment will have the opportunity to model their own shirt.

We’re also looking for fair trade brands to sponsor us through donations of items of clothing, jewellery and fashion accessories for our models to wear.

We would love this to be an in person event, but we have contingency plans for all levels of social distancing measures that might be in place by September. In any case the event will be filmed and made available to view on YouTube, edited to include video diaries and stories from the makers and the fair trade brands.

You can download the project brief here:

How Green Is Your T Shirt project brief


Launch – Monday 19 April – Fashion Revolution Week

Summer – Get crafty!

31 August – deadline for return of T shirts to Joanna

Great Big Green Week: 18-26 September

If you would like to get involved please email

For inspiration see this amazing video from charity a-dress:

Posted on April 18th, 2021 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

World Fair Trade Day 8 May 2021 – Build Back Fairer

World Fair Trade Day is a great opportunity for Fairtrade communities to take action away from the main UK Fairtrade Fortnight activities.

Co-ordinated by the World Fair Trade Organisation,  World Fair Trade day happens on the second Saturday in May every year. As well as the farmers and workers who grow and make the Fairtrade marked products we celebrate during Fairtrade Fortnight, the focus is on the organisations who are part of the wider fair trade movement, as members of WFTO itself or network members like BAFTS – Fair Trade Network UK. The artisans and producers who make these mainly hand crafted products, from clothing and accessories to home and garden ornaments are a key part of the move towards a fairer world. You may remember the CEO of the WFTO Erinch Sahan was the keynote speaker at the Fairtrade Yorkshire Conference in October 2020 so we have a great connection from our region to the wider fair trade movement.

World Fair Trade Day will see a Europe-wide campaign celebrating the fair trade outlets in your local area under the banner “Fair Trade Local”. We’re asking people to take photos 0utside their local fair trade shop and upload them to social media with the hashtag #FairTradeLocal. We’re also asking you to contact your local MP or mayor and ask them to take a photo with the poster reading “Build Back Fairer”, then send them to the WFTO for inclusion in their gallery.

Here’s our Co-ordinator and newly elected Chair of the National Campaigner Committee sharing her message.

Get the email template and instructions

There are social media assets for you to download here.

Download the poster here.

Watch the Build Back Fairer campaign video here and via the Fairtrade Yorkshire YouTube channel



Posted on April 12th, 2021 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Joanna’s interview for the Fair World Project podcast – about the Nestle campaign

Last month Joanna was interviewed by the Fair World Project in the US for their podcast series. Her episode – number 5 in the series – is out now.

She talks us through the 2020 campaign to Keep KitKat Fairtrade and the links between the Nestle factory in York, its Quaker roots and  challenges in the cocoa industry right now.

And in the first few minutes you can hear her explaining all about Fairtrade Yorkshire to her interviewer Anna Canning who was calling from Portland, Oregon.

Listen to the whole podcast here

Posted on March 31st, 2021 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Fairtrade Yorkshire Regional Meeting


Fairtrade Fortnight may be over but the campaign for climate action in support of Fairtrade farmers and workers continues.

Come along to our Fairtrade Yorkshire regional meeting 6 – 7.30pm on Monday 17 May when we’ll be joined by a member of the Fairtrade Foundation’s campaigns team.

We’ll hear more about the latest campaigns around climate justice and the G7 and COP26 summits happening in the UK later this year.

We’ll also have an opportunity to look back on Fairtrade Fortnight 2021 and forward to the future.

Email Joanna for the Zoom link or look out for our newsletter in your inboxes.

Posted on March 19th, 2021 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Phone Box Library with fair trade themed books opens in Harrogate

A brilliant idea from Jane at Harrogate Fairtrade. The old red phone box in St Hilda’s road was slated to be removed, but the local community took it over as a community library. Known as the Saints Community Library, it offers passers-by an opportunity to take, swap and return.

The phonebox is set up for Fairtrade Fortnight with over 90 books related to 45 Fairtrade-producing countries. These are books by authors from the countries, or about/set in the countries. Each book has an information panel inside, relating it to the products from the countries. The plan is to change the books regularly to reflect themes like Red Nose Day and Pride.

This is an example – Malala Yousafzai’s book is paired with a story about Fairtrade footballs made in Pakistan:


Jane Kennerley, along with friend and neighbour Holly Jones, adopted the Phonebox from BT just before Christmas and Fairtrade Fortnight is their first official “event”.

Jane says: “The Phonebox is known as “The Saints Community Library” and is a popular focal point and resource for our community. We are planning to renovate the box and include more shelving and a noticeboard, so next year we hope to be able to provide even more information.”

Posted on February 22nd, 2021 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Fairtrade chocolate truffles recipe and information

Our workshop on Wednesday 3 March with chocolatier David Greenwood Haigh was really popular.

You can download and print out the truffles recipe and all the information you need.

FT chocolate Truffle Making at Home

You can view this workshop via YouTube:

Watch again


Posted on February 20th, 2021 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Sandy Docherty’s Fair Trade Meatballs in Spicy Tomato Sauce recipe

Fair Trade Meat Balls in Tomato Sauce

On Monday 1 March we’re delighted that former Bake Off contestant Sandy Docherty will be helping us make her recipe in a cook along.

Book your free tickets via eventbrite

You can download your own copy of the recipe here: Fair Trade Meat Balls in Tomato sauce

Sandy’s recipe with links to buy some of the ingredients:

These meat balls are so very easy to make and every time I serve them, they have that wow factor, served steaming hot with a little sprinkling of parsley over top.

The secret to these meatballs is not to roll them to tight, just about the size of a golf ball and just squeezed enough to hold the shape.

Now the Sauce is a dream, this sauce can be used for so many dishes, eg, as a pizza sauce, over chicken fillets, over sausages, meat or veggie. The only thing is its not so good for is in a dessert!!

I always advocate that any recipe should not sit still, please use each recipe as a base and then swap and change it to fit your mood, what you have in and what is accessible to you. The recipe then becomes ‘Yours’ “I love meatballs, but I love mine more”.

NOTE: Some Fairtrade and fair trade ingredients are easier to get than others – If they aren’t available in your supermarket, try your local fair trade shop, whole food shop, Traidcraft or Ethical Superstore. And if you still can’t find them, why not request that they get some in?


500g minced beef

500g sausages (vary the taste by using sausages of your choice, e.g., pork and leek, chorizo style sausage)

1 large onion

3 cloves of garlic

250g chopped Fairtrade tomatoes

(or 1 tin chopped tomatoes)

1 jar of MERU HERBS Tomato sauce or small carton of passata

½ tube tomato puree

1tsp Cape Garden Herbs from Ukuva (via your local fair trade shop)

1tsp of chopped chili (optional)

1 bottle of Fairtrade red wine (one class for the sauce and the rest for the chef, ALWAYS cook with wine you are prepared to drink, there’s no such thing as cooking wine!)

3tbsp Fairtrade olive oil

Salt and pepper PLEASE USE UKUVA I AFRICA seasonings (fabulous range and choice of flavours)



Split the sausage and put the filling in a bowl, add the mince and mix both together well.

Roll into as many balls as you can. Don’t make the balls too small as they can become tough and hard. About the size of a golf ball is the best.

Add the oil to the frying pan and heat, add the meatballs and cook until brown. They don’t have to be cooked all the way through as they will continue to cook in the sauce. If you don’t like to fry then put the oil in the bottom of a roasting tin and bake in a hot over 160c Gas 6 giving the pan a shake from time to time.

For the Sauce

Chop the onion and the garlic, put 1tbs oil in a pan and fry the onion

Add the chopped tomato, passata and the puree along with the chili (if using) and the wine.

Add the mixed herbs and season with salt and pepper allow simmer and thicken.

When the sauce is ready put in the browned meat balls, bake in the oven for about 30 minutes to allow the meatballs to cook and heat through.

Vegetarian & vegan alternatives to meat balls that you can use with this sauce

Roasted Mediterranean vegetables (peppers, aubergines, courgettes, red onion etc)

Roasted root vegetables (red onion, carrots, parsnips, butternut squash etc)

For the above, Cut into bite size chunks, season well with FAIR TRADE HERBS OR UKUVA I AFRICA SEASSONING and 3 tablespoons of FAIR TRADE OLIVE OIL.  There needs to be about ½ kg of vegetables in total but this depends on how you like the ratio of sauce to content. Combine all of the above and spread evenly on an oven tray, keeping one layer so the vegetables roast not steam, bake in a hot oven 180c gas 6/7 until slightly charged. Replace the meatballs with this medley of vegetables.

Or you could try using 500g of Chestnut Mushrooms:

Leaving the mushrooms whole, wipe with paper towel (never wash mushrooms) drizzle over Fairtrade Olive Oil. Season well with one of UKUVA I AFRICA range of salt and pepper. Sauté the mushroom in a frying pan on the stove or if you’re not keen on frying, place the mushroom on an oven tray and roast in the over 180c gas 6/7 for about 15 minutes. Watch them carefully as you want the mushrooms to remain succulent and not dry (oven baked mushrooms can dry out quickly) Use these Mushrooms in place of the meatballs, they have a lovely texture and in keeping them whole they have an attractive appearance in the finished dish,

To serve

Fair trade spaghetti or other pasta shapes – these may be available from your local fair trade shop or whole food shop, or try buying online from Ethical Superstore or Traidcraft. Fun fact: fair trade pasta is made from quinoa meaning it’s naturally gluten free.

Fair trade rice – try the fantastic Kilombero rice from JTS. If you use this rice, you may be able to take part in the 90kg rice challenge and play your part in sending a Malawian child to school.

Crusty French bread and beautiful butter (this never fails to please)






Posted on February 12th, 2021 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Recipes for Fairtrade Fortnight

This is a great resource for anyone looking for inspiration during Fairtrade Fortnight:

Whether you’re a meat or fish eater, a vegetarian or a baker you’ll find something that suits

Posted on February 9th, 2021 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

International Womens Day 8 March 2021

International Women’s Day falls just outside Fairtrade Fortnight this year – but women’s empowerment is so vital to the fair trade message that we’re going to celebrate in a big way.

The WFTO has set up a dedicated website where you can find out how fair trade organisations are promoting and supporting women – along with some great ideas for you to join in on social media.

Check out the #WomenOfFairTrade website

And our Fairtrade in a time of covid event on 5 March – with Shared Interest staff Immaculate Ochieno (Kenya) and Kodzo Korkortsi (Ghana) forms part of the York International Women’s Week festival.

Posted on January 21st, 2021 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News

Sign up for the Co-op’s Fairtrade Fortnight pack

The Co-op is one of the pioneers of Fairtrade and our local Co-op store is quite often the closest place we can find Fairtrade products across the region.

You can sign up to receive one of their Fairtrade Fortnight member packs here.

Posted on January 20th, 2021 by Fairtrade Yorkshire News