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Our favourite stalls just keep coming back………

On Saturday 29th November the best ethical Christmas market in London is back on Oxford Street from 11am – 6pm with over 35 stalls selling the best in eco/recycled/upcycled/fair trade gifts and ethical fashion.

Global Seesaw are no strangers to the Fair Christmas Fayre and we can’t wait to welcome them home.  This fantastic social enterprise will be selling their wonderful gifts and decorations which will brighten up your Christmas. Luckily we are assured they will be working on their Christmas Cracker jokes….

What will you be selling at the Fair Christmas Fayre this year?

 A range of bags, jewellery and paper products along with beautiful Christmas decorations, cards and stocking fillers.

Global seesaw

Tell us about why you started Global Seesaw?

Global SeeSaw operates in the UK as a social enterprise with the aim of creating sustainable employment for women who have been trafficked into prostitution. All profits from Global SeeSaw are re-invested into the business to create more employment and freedom worldwide.

Why did you want to trade at the Fair Christmas Fayre?

We love coming to the Fair Christmas Fayre as it’s an annual event in our calendar. It’s a great opportunity to showcase our products in such a fantastic location.

What is your favourite thing about Christmas?

Decorating the tree at the beginning of December with our ever growing range of decorations including our scented baubles :-)

Any good Christmas Cracker jokes?

What do reindeer hang on their Christmas trees? Horn-aments!

Ok bad joke but the Global Seesaw ‘horn-aments’ are much better!

Learn more about what Global SeeSaw do and buy their products online from their website and add them on twitter @globalseesaw.

Food for thought at the Fair Christmas Fayre

Here at Fair Christmas Fayre we love food so there will be delicious treats to tickle your taste buds on the 29th November but also to take home for filling up those Christmas stockings.

However we hate seeing food go to waste which is why we are thrilled that Foodcycle, will have a space at the fayre.  We spoke to them about their passion for turning surplus food into healthy meals for vulnerable people and their scrumptious chutneys, jams and preserves that they will be selling on the day.

What will you be selling at the Fair Christmas Fayre this year?

Our new range of Christmas cards (see photo below) and a selection of homemade chutneys, jams and preserves from our community café – Pie in the Sky in Bromley-by-Bow. There’ll also be some FoodCycle merchandise: t-shirts, aprons, badges and more! We’re currently in the process of coming up with some Christmassy games, which will of course be food-related, and are offering some great prizes – watch this space!

card1

Tell us about why you started Foodcycle​?

Foodcycle are a charity that combine volunteers, surplus food and spare kitchen spaces to create nutritious meals for people at risk from food poverty and social isolation.  FoodCycle was started with the joint objectives of reducing food waste and food poverty, training volunteers and building resilient communities.

An estimated 15 million tons of food is wasted in the UK each year, something we think is totally inexcusable, considering that over 4 million people experience food poverty in this country alone. Furthermore, those at risk of food poverty are likely to be at risk of other disadvantages, such as social isolation, poor health and homelessness.

Our triple donation model combines volunteers, kitchen space and surplus food to address this issue – providing vulnerable people with healthy meals that are served in warm, friendly environments. We cooked our first meal in May 2009 and have gone from strength to strength ever since!

FoodCycle also focuses on empowering volunteers. We provide comprehensive training and support, which enables volunteers to become positive agents of change in their communities.

Why did you want to trade at the Fair Christmas Fayre?

Although FoodCycle uses volunteers and donations as much as possible to keep our running costs low, we still need to raise funds for things like insurance, volunteer training and extra ingredients to ensure our meals are healthy and balanced. We hope to generate funds that will enable us to continue our projects and reach out to more vulnerable people this Christmas.

The Fair Christmas Fayre will also be a great chance for us to spread our mission further, attracting more volunteers, supporters and guests to our projects.

What is your favourite thing about Christmas?

Two words: Nut. Roast. Although we’ve heard “it’s not really Christmas without the turkey”, at FoodCycle we like to embrace alternative ideas of the true meaning of Christmas. (Plus, Steven has an amazing walnut and lentil nut roast recipe, which he might even share at the Fayre, if you ask nicely!)

Any good Christmas Cracker jokes?

How did Mary and Joseph know that Jesus was 7lb 6 oz when he was born?

They had a weigh in the manger!

Check out Foodcycle’s website for more information, including how you can volunteer at one of their 18 volunteer-powered community projects across the UK, reclaiming food that would otherwise be wasted to cook healthy and delicious meals for those in need. www.foodcycle.org.uk

Cute baby alert …Vizuri Design’s beautiful handmade baby clothes have an African twist

If you have family or friends with babies, you can’t miss Vizuri Designs (‘Good Designs’ in Swahili) at the Fair Christmas Fayre this year.  We spoke to Ruth Talbot about her beautifully designed clothes for children which bring some cheer into our lives with their gorgeous, colourful African designs.

What will you be selling at the Fair Christmas Fayre this year?

Lots of fun and funky clothes for babies and children made with African material. There are also accessories which can be added to a plain outfit to brighten it up, for example my sash belts. These are all handmade by me here in London. For Christmas time only I will also have some jewellery and trinkets which I have been collecting from my travels around various African countries.

Vizuri designs

Tell us about why you started Vizuri designs?

I have always loved the patterns and colours of African materials and noticed that a lot of clothes for babies and young children are quite dull and very gender colour coded. That’s starting to change but its still rare to see african materials used in such clothing. I was inspired to try and change this by producing clothes for boys and girls that will brighten up a rainy British day.

I’m also interested in mixing materials and styles. To me finding a way to mix european tweeds with african prints can be a metaphor for how together different cultures can create something beautiful. The latest design I’m working on is a detachable pocket which victorian female cyclists used to wear, but I’m incorprating some african prints to add a new twist. 

I’m loving spending time being creative again and wish to  expand my reach.

Why did you want to trade at the Fair Christmas Fayre?

My other day job is working in the charity sector and I love the idea of business and fairness coming together to change the way we interact and trade. The fayre will give me the chance as a newly established enterprise to reach out to a broader market and spread the love for African inspired clothing.

What is your favourite thing about Christmas?

Do I have to choose only one? I love Christmas, all the decorations, presents (giving just as much as receiving!), spending time with family and of course all the Christmas fayres!

Any good Christmas Cracker jokes?

What do crackers, fruitcake and nuts remind me of?

                                                                   You!

 Check out Vizuri Designs on Facebook and comes see their gorgeous stall for some great gifts.

Fair Christmas Fayre’s favourite art stall

Another day, another peek at who will be at the Fair Christmas Fayre this year.

Today we introduce Jan Thompson from Florica who sells beautiful fine art drawings on block colour recycled art paper, sure to make a wonderful present for your family and friends this year (if you can manage not to keep her art for your own house!)

Jan Thompson's art

Jan Thompson’s art

 

What will you be selling at the Fair Christmas Fayre this year? 

My own drawings of trees and animals on recycled paper with an environmental theme.

Tell us about why you started your stall/business? After many years working with young people encouraging them to believe in what they were good at I decide to change career and go back to art.

Why did you want to trade at the Fair Christmas Fayre? I wanted to come because of the Salvation army cause and the environmental theme and hopefully to sell some work!

What is your favourite thing about Christmas? Hearing the carols in the cathedral.

Any good Christmas Cracker jokes? Who hides in the bakery at Christmas?  A mince spy!

Look out for Jan’s stall and a whole load more at the Fair Christmas Fayre on Saturday 29th November, on Oxford Street.

 

 

Introducing our fair fayre stalls….

In the run up to the Fair Christmas Fayre we give you a sneeky peak of the great stalls that will be joining us on Saturday 29th November.  We will be featuring different stall holders to find out what they will be selling, why they do what they do and their favourite things about Christmas!

The first organisation we are proud to feature is the Tanzania Development Trust who have a number of excellent projects that they will be supporting in Tanzania through the sale of their goods.  We spoke with Janet Chapman who will be there on the day with her bright stall.

What will you be selling at the Fair Christmas Fayre this year? 

We will be selling beautiful soapstone dishes, carvings and handicrafts from East Africa, and our Tinga tinga Christmas cards which have been designed especially for Tanzania Development Trust by a local artist.  We are really proud of them as they are a truely unique Christmas card (see photo below and rest of interview follows underneath).

tanzania dev trust

Tell us about why the Tanzania Development Trust was set up? 

We fund projects such as bore holes so women don’t have to walk 4 hours to collect unsafe water, solar panels for clinics so they don’t have to give birth in the dark and safe houses to help vulnerable girls escape FGM.  We are all volunteers so every pound donated goes directly to projects and all the money raised at the Fayre will go directly to support projects in the poorest areas of Tanzania.

Why did you want to trade at the Fair Christmas Fayre?

To get back to the true spirit of Christmas   (and do lots of singing..)

What is your favourite thing about Christmas? 

Spending time with people you love.

Any good Christmas Cracker jokes?

What is the best Christmas present in the world?

A broken drum – you just can’t beat it!

Follow Tanzania Development trust on Facebook, Twitter or visit their website http://www.tanzdevtrust.org/ and come say hello to them on the day!

25 days to go until the Fair Christmas Fayre!

Fair Christmas Fayre is back for 2014 on Saturday 29th November on Oxford Street and as the countdown begins, we are already really excited.

blog-christmas-bunting

We will have a fab range of products this year from amazing jewellery, accessories, shoes and clothes, to yummy foods, kids clothes, toys, nice smelling bathy products, cards, art, trinkets and more.  There will be something for all the family and throughout the day there will also be live entertainment to keep you amused whilst shopping.

We have been inspired and made to feel all gooey inside by the amount of people out there running amazing ethical/eco businesses and social enterprises who will be at the event.  It has been so heart warming to hear about the various projects behind the gifts and products on sale at the fair and reassuring that there are a whole bunch of people in the world thinking about what is really ‘fair’ in terms of what they are selling, how it is made and who it is made by and proving that, although profit is important, we don’t need to sacrifice ethics for the sake of making more money.

Stay tuned to hear more about what will be on sale at the fayre and please do invite anyone you think would love to do some Christmas shopping with a conscience via the facebook event  https://www.facebook.com/events/723110267768202/ or email them our latest flyers found here - FCF Leaflet 2014

And have any comments?  We’d love to hear from you…..

What makes a product ‘fair’? What makes an organisation ‘ethical’?

What makes a product ‘fair’?  What makes an organisation ‘ethical’?

Good questions don’t you agree? These are questions which I have been asked a lot recently and with good reason given I am helping to organise an ethical Christmas market!

Honestly, this is a very sticky area and there are so many conundrums for the wannabe ethical shopper to think through……Fair trade from the other side of the planet or buy local and support England’s diminishing farming industry? Buy Organic but not Fair Trade or Fair Trade but not Organic?  Wonderfully cheap and cheerful clothes that are made from unsustainable materials/in poor conditions or good quality glad rags made by fairly paid staff, yet super expensive?

The list goes on and on and on and quite honestly it just makes your brain ache, hence a lot of people decide just not to think about it as it makes life a lot easier.  I was one of those for a very long time I will very readily admit.  It takes a great deal of energy and thought to comprehend, particularly as we now live in this globalised world in which everything is so interconnected and thus it is hard to trace back the direct effects of any action.

However, in organising this fayre I am inspired and encouraged to find that there are many others out there who can and are mustering the motivation and courage to explore this and there are even many people out there trying to trade as ethically as they can – hooray!

There is a an incredible amount of stuff to unravel around ‘fair’ business practices and I don’t pretend to have all of the answers by any means. Here at Fair Christmas Fayre we are always learning new things which might change what we buy or how we act and we will share with you our exploration of this.   Our ideas will continue to evolve with yours and we would love to hear your comments.  Over the coming weeks we will be exploring some of the organisations/products that we feel meet our ‘ethical’ criteria which the ‘fair shopper’ should be aware of.fcf14

In any case we want shoppers to have an alternative to just the large shops on the high street and are proud to provide a platform for those organisations who want to trade from a genuine place of integrity, ethics and are operating with respect, love and care for other people and the planet.  We believe that means:

Treat your people well: Goods are made ethically paying workers a fair wage and in safe conditions.  This could be through practices such as Fair trade.

Treat your planet well:  We have finite resources and so it is important to use sustainable materials, or recycled/upcycled materials if possible.  The production of materials is also important, ensuring this has minimal environmental impact such as organic farming

Share the love: We love social enterprises (mixing business and ethics) and organisations that sell goods or services to support charitable/community projects.  There is a lot of value in greater sharing of resources and wealth to ensure those who need support get it, and by this I don’t just mean sharing financial wealth but our wealth includes our other resources such as time, skills, knowledge, ideas and creativity.

This list is by no means comprehensive and is just a start….we look forward to challenging this and seeing it evolve.

Renee Berkhout, Organiser Fair Christmas Fayre 2014

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