A family meal at the Bio Farmer Agricultural Commodity and Service Cooperative, Kyrgyzstan. © Didier Gentilhomme

Connected community: Supporting each other through the COVID-19 crisis

Around the world, business is adapting to minimise the spread of COVID-19. At Fairtrade Foundation, we’re doing our part by working virtually and following the recommendations of the British government and the World Health Organization (WHO). Our work is ongoing and we’re committed to assisting the producers that are at the heart of our system.

We are all connected, not just in our towns and cities but also across the world. Just as new viruses like COVID-19 crisscross the globe, so do supply chains. People are rightly concerned that the most vulnerable, those already living payday to payday, will be the first and hardest hit by this period of social isolation and economic slowdown. Small business owners and their employees, gig economy workers, and others with precarious employment are living on tight margins already. Small-scale farmers and agricultural workers in the global south struggle every year to earn enough to support their families.

In spite of what is a new reality for all of us, it is so encouraging to see how communities are coming together for mutual protection and support. We’ve been receiving updates from our partners and producer networks around the world, which underscores how this is truly an opportunity for us, as a society, to come together to support each other through this crisis.

Support can be demonstrated in many ways:

  • Stay in touch! Video calls to check in on the physical and mental health of our friends, colleagues and family. If you’re working virtually, schedule regular video calls to maintain a sense of teamwork and celebrate progress.
  • Socially responsible consumption: consider how you can support your local economy, as well as those who will be directly impacted, like producers in the global south. Make sustainable choices and buy fair: take only what you need for a couple of weeks and leave plenty for others.
  • Respect and heed the advice of medical professionals. Rely on information about the virus from reputable global organisations like WHO or the Department for Health and Social Care. If your local authorities say to stay home, stay home! 

We urge everyone to take responsible steps to minimise the spread of this new virus, while continuing to support your local businesses and communities. And, if you have a choice, please shop for staples like Fairtrade-certified coffee, chocolate, bananas, sugar and wine as if we were all neighbours, because we are.