Food can be an effective way to continue the conversation, developing concepts such as justice and learning about the world. Talking about where food originates is a good place to start. We often forget that farmers all over the globe play a vital role in feeding our families but may not receive a fair price for growing our food. Most children love a quiz, and a fun way to encourage their curiosity is by guessing where each item on their plate is grown.
The next step could be talking about how much a farmer might earn for growing his crop - often in a remote community thousands of miles away. For instance, when we buy a chocolate bar, it is highly likely that the cocoa in it was grown in West Africa. Yet, in cocoa producing countries like Ghana, a typical farmer lives on around 75p per day.
Fair trade provides a fantastic way to introduce young children to this concept and UK organisation Shared Interest has created a range of materials to help families on their way. In their Little Book of Fairness, Captain Cocoa, the superfruit cocoa pod, invites us to play cocoa themed snakes and ladders, and design our own chocolate bar with the stickers included.
You can flick through the online version of this booklet on their website and watch the animation about how we can help Captain Cocoa face the challenges of climate change. Other activities include getting crayons, pencils or pens at the ready to bring Captain Cocoa and Super Avo to life in a colouring task. You can then seek out some words to help Captain Cocoa on her way, through a family Wordsearch. Finally, children can show off their multiplication skills by solving some cocoa-themed sums.
Shared Interest works with fair trade farmers in over 50 countries, providing vital finance so that they can grow their crops sustainably and earn a fair income.
Brazil nut co-operative Candela Peru has used Shared Interest finance for over 20 years, to support communities in the Peruvian Amazon. Candela works with Castañeros - nut gatherers living along the Madre de Dios River in the Peruvian rainforest, which is known for having the greatest diversity of plant and animal species on earth.
Candela Peru Co-Founder Gaston Vizcarra said: “We truly have a unique relationship between our Castañeros and the forest, and Shared Interest helps that relationship to flourish. The rights to harvest the nuts, the finance to pay the farmers, the expertise to create wonderful products, and the routes we now have to market. Every part of the process is crucial, and we depend on each other to keep this circle connected.”
To receive your free copy of The Little Book of Fairness, email [email protected], or visit Shared Interest’s website to learn more about the fascinating farmers who nurture the vital ingredients for our everyday meals.