by Anna Galandzij, the Fairtrade Foundation
Radio 1 DJ Alice Levine and TV presenter Laura Jackson, together the Jackson&Levine, London’s coolest supper club, say their trip to Ethiopia to meet coffee farmers was an eye-opening experience.
You travelled to Ethiopia earlier this year to meet Fairtrade coffee farmers. What’s your most memorable experience of the Fairtrade farmers you met?
Alice: When we asked one of the farmers that we visited to put the role of coffee into words, he said it was their "whole life". He meant this literally; it's the crop that is their livelihood, it is the cornerstone of their social gatherings and part of their cultural heritage.
Ethiopia ranks second poorest country in the world is the world's seventh largest producer of coffee. What is life like for the coffee farmers you met?
Alice and Laura: Visiting Ethiopia with Fairtrade earlier this year has opened our eyes to how much work goes into bringing us our morning coffee. Visiting the cooperatives shone a light on how fragile a coffee farmer’s livelihood can be. With just one harvest every year, famine and climate change put real pressure on food security. So while these farmers provide many of the products we enjoy for breakfast in the UK each day, the majority are struggling to provide food for their own families.
What inspired you/ made you support the Fairtrade Fortnight 2016 campaign?
Alice: As we have our own supper club, Jackson&Levine, food is obviously really important to us. And so is understanding where our food is sourced.
Laura Jackson: We lent our support to Fairtrade Fortnight after seeing firsthand how small farm holders in Ethiopia benefit from fair prices and the huge impact British consumers can make if they remember to buy Fairtrade products all year round.
Why should people care?
Alice and Laura: It’s shocking to know that many of the farmers who help produce our breakfast in the UK are often struggling to feed their own families. By buying Fairtrade products we ensure farmers in the developing world receive a fair price.
We hope the British public get behind the campaign, enjoy a Fairtrade breakfast and take a moment to think about the people, farmers and families behind their breakfast.
And what is your favourite breakfast food?
Laura: We love the Fairtrade Banana Breakfast Bars we created for Fairtrade Fortnight. They’re sweet, chewy bars that are the ideal accompaniment for your morning coffee or perfect for breakfast on the go too.
Photos: ©Chris Terry/Fairtrade; ©MattCrossick
Jackson&Levine’s No fuss Breakfast Bars
A sweet, chewy bar that is an ideal accompaniment for your morning coffee. These little squares are perfect as a breakfast on the go too. Makes 9-12
• 2 large, very ripe Fairtrade bananas
• 180g oats
• Generous pinch of salt
• 40g chopped dried dates
• 40g chopped hazelnuts
• Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees
• Mash the Fairtrade banana until no large lumps remain. Add the oats, salt, dates, and hazelnuts
• Transfer the mixture into a greased baking tray and evenly distribute
• Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges just begin to turn a golden brown and get crispy
• Once cool, cut into bars