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Make Fruit Fair! A boost for Fair Tropical Fruits in the 2015 European Year for Development and beyond: Mobilizing European citizen to take action for fair tropical fruit supply chains.

An international undertaking called ‘Make Fruit Fair! A Boost for Fair Tropical Fruit in the 2015 European Year of Development and Beyond: Mobilizing European citizen to take action for fair tropical fruit supply chains’ – of which the Polish project ‘Buy Fruit Responsibly! A Campaign for Fair and Sustainable Tropical Fruit Supply Chains’ is a part – aims to raise consumer awareness about the interdependence of EU countries and countries in the global South – the exporters of tropical fruit – and to mobilise activists and civil society representatives to take action and to engage personally in improving the situation of workers employed in the cultivation of tropical fruit.

Make Fruit Fair! A boost for Fair Tropical Fruits in the 2015 European Year for Development and beyond: Mobilizing European citizen to take action for fair tropical fruit supply chains.

‘Buy Fruit Responsibly! A Campaign for Fair and Sustainable Tropical Fruit Supply Chains’ is a dual-module project aimed at young people, activists and educators, local communities, journalists and Polish consumers.

The project manager is Fundacja Kupuj Odpowiedzialnie (the Buy Responsibly Foundation), one of the many NGOs in Europe and the global South participating in the international campaign ‘Make Fruit Fair! A Boost for Fair Tropical Fruit in the 2015 European Year of Development and Beyond: Mobilizing European citizen to take action for fair tropical fruit supply chains’.

This project aims to increase knowledge and awareness in Polish society about social and environmental issues of tropical fruit production and trade in the global South and to increase the involvement of young people in taking action for responsible consumption and production of tropical fruit, including fair trade.

In addition, the project supports representatives of civil society organisations through training, publications, campaign and educational materials, interactive online tools, and a systematically expanded knowledge base. These materials will also help Polish consumers make informed and responsible decisions that will contribute to the improvement of the working and living conditions of people working in the food industry.

The planned tools and project activities, using interactive methods and materials, are designed to enable young people in particular to improve their knowledge and skills in attractive and engaging ways. Project recipients will be able to take part in training courses tailored to their needs, which will involve preparation of appropriate materials and educational kits. In addition, purpose-designed online tools (including infographics, video spots, online quizzes, and documentary platforms) and campaign materials (leaflets, shopping cart coins) will serve as practical tools for further knowledge transfer and engagement. Another element the project provides for is its presence and promotion at events that bring together young people, such as music festivals.

In order to reinforce the mobilising and multiplier effect of the project in the course of its implementation, Fundacja Kupuj Odpowiedzialnie will offer project recipients ongoing support for the organisation of their own independent information campaigns at the local level.

In the field of media activities, the project envisages ongoing engagement with journalists with the aim of raising awareness of the issue of responsible consumption of tropical fruit and thus reaching the widest audience possible.

The project will be implemented in 2016–2017. The grant from Polish Aid was PLN 54,000 in 2016 and PLN 46,460 in 2017, where the project’s value was PLN 60,000 in 2016 and PLN 41,460 in 2017.

Make Fruit Fair! A boost for Fair Tropical Fruits in the 2015 European Year for Development and beyond: Mobilizing European citizen to take action for fair tropical fruit supply chains.

In September 2016, a two-day training session was organised for activists and educators with the aim of preparing them for the campaign and educational activities planned as part of the project. Of the 50 people interested in taking part in the training, 14 participants were selected, a group that included teachers working with young people. The participants learned about the key challenges in the tropical fruit production and distribution chain and about the special role supermarkets play in that process. In addition, the training course included preparatory activities for educational campaigns to be run during the Global Education Week and the Buy Nothing Day.

In November 2016, these trained activists organised eight local-level educational campaign launches (among others, in lower and upper secondary schools and vocational schools, in a Warsaw grocery cooperative and a selected shopping centre in Krakow), which directly engaged 2,097 people.

The project also involved the publication of ‘The Campaign Game: A Practical Guide to Running Consumer Campaigns’, a manual that demonstrates how to plan and carry out a campaign and cites best practices in that area.

Moreover, in response to requests from educators and teachers, the project team developed and published ‘The Truth about Bananas: An Educational Toolkit for Teachers and Educators’, which provides information on the production and consumption of bananas and practical tips on various forms of educational work.

Representatives and volunteers of Fundacja Kupuj Odpowiedzialnie organised educational and informational stands at the Woodstock Festival in Kostrzyn nad Odra (14 to 16 July 2016) and at the OFF Festival in Katowice (5 to 8 August 2016), where anyone interested could obtain information about the campaign and about responsible production and consumption of tropical fruit. They also organised short workshops at these locations devoted to the challenges and problems in this area. It is estimated that both stands were visited by 3,500 young people.

At the summer festivals and during local campaigns, project participants distributed shopping trolley tokens with campaign messages as well as leaflets explaining the mechanisms of operation used by supermarkets and discount stores that contribute to the lowering of work standards, breaking of health and safety rules on plantations and degrading of the natural environment.

Within the second module of the project, during the Global Education Week (GEW) and the No Shopping Day, thanks to the great commitment of educators and activists, ten events were organised. Campaigns within GEW were organised in e.g. primary and secondary schools. Nine activists conducted workshops at stands of the Foundation during the summer festivals in Torun, Lubiaz, Katowice and Cieszanow. The stands were quite popular (visited by more than 1,800 people) which shows that young people are becoming more involved in activities promoting responsible consumption. Visitors readily struck up conversations with the Foundation’s staff, took an active part in the workshops and signed petitions. The Foundation stays in touch with the activists and volunteers, providing them with technical and logistic support. The Foundation also supports selected NGOs in consumer campaigns, strengthening cooperation and increasing the group of conscious consumers.

The knowledge base at ekonsument.pl was expanded to improve the awareness of the Polish people about responsible consumption and production. Additional information material, video spots, appeals and petitions were also included. An interactive educational platform (www.storyofbanana.com/pl) was started, presenting the problems of production and distribution of exotic fruit. The activities of the Foundation are also promoted in the media and have reached more than 632,000 recipients. In addition, thanks to the interest of opinion-forming and mainstream media (Polityka, Duży Format, Gazeta Wyborcza, Radio ZET), the message reached a total of up to 1.1 million people. The Foundation’s profile on Facebook also enjoyed great interest, with posts reaching more than 1 million viewers.

For the duration of the project, the www.ekonsument.pl project website was maintained. It featured a total of ten thematic articles, an interactive educational quiz and video spots presenting cases of human rights violations on exotic-fruit plantations. The project also ran its own Kupuj Odpowiedzialnie (Buy Responsibly) Facebook page.