Top actors, jewellers, photographer and the Eden Project all go nuts for Fairtrade
Leading actors including Alex Kingston, Saffron Burrows, Jane Horrocks and Orla Brady are joining a peanut farmer from Malawi and Brazil nut gatherer from Bolivia in a stunning photographic exhibition at the Eden Project highlighting the world of Fairtrade nut company Liberation.
The photographs, by top portrait and fashion photographer Alex James (www.alex-james.co.uk), are being displayed at Eden until the end of March, including Fairtrade Fortnight, February 23 - March 8 2009.
The actors are wearing jewellery made from the Fairtrade nuts and dried fruit found in Liberation's products sold at Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons under the supermarkets' own label Fairtrade nut ranges. Liberation is also the company behind the new Fairtrade nut snacks from comedian Harry Hill, 'Harry's Nuts!', available in Sainsbury's, Waitrose and smaller outlets, including the Eden Project shop.
The jewellery was created by graduate jewellery students from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, The actors and performers who have modelled the jewellery include Saffron Burrows, Alex Kingston, Jane Horrocks, Ronni Ancona, Jan Ravens, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Orla Brady and Adjoa Andoh. Their necklaces, bracelets and hair pieces were made from Fairtrade Brazil nuts, cashews, dried mango, dried apricots and raisins by Anila Ahmad, Zoe Kendall, Yuko Hotta, Judith de Berker and Hazel Clucas.
Alex James, who worked for free on the project, has also photographed consumers of Liberation's products to show another side to the company - those who love eating what it produces. His pictures are joined by stunning photos of the farmers at work. The project was conceived to show that things are not always what they seem – jewellery can be made from food stuffs and a company can exist to benefit farmers in some of the world’s poorer countries. Liberation is far from an ordinary business - it is supported by Comic Relief and as a Community Interest Company it exists purely to help improve the lives of smallholder farmers and nut gatherers.. It is part owned by farming organisations in Malawi, Mozambique, Bolivia, Nicaragua, India, Brazil, Peru and El Salvador.
Giles Last, Course Director B.A Jewellery design, says: “We were delighted and fascinated to be invited to work with Liberation on this project. It proved an ideal testing ground for our new graduates to explore their creative horizons and design language. The integrity of the message of Liberation and the natural quality of the product is harmonious with the students’ drive to question the world and to recognise ethically sourced and sustainable products in jewellery design. Seeing the results proved this was a terrific collaboration.”
Justine Quinn, Interpretation Manager at the Eden Project says: ""We're delighted to be hosting this fantastic exhibition which tells the Fairtrade story in such an innovative and fun way. The jewellery looks stunning and people are amazed when they discover it's all been made out of Fairtrade fruit and nuts. What I love about the exhibition is that it gives a face to the people behind the produce and highlights the connection that we, as consumers, have with people on the other side of the world. This exhibition shows how our wallet is our weapon and the buying choices we make can have a really positive impact."
The actors have explained why they support the project:
Ronni Ancona “This jewellery is not quite what it seems,rather like the products from Liberation. You may think you are just buying a snack but in fact you are empowering farmers in poorer countries and helping them to work their way out of poverty.”
Jan Ravens “In these times you hear so much about the people at the bottom of the supply chain being so abused and living with such hardship, so it’s great to hear of a company working to redress that and make sure people who grow the food we are eating get their just rewards as well.”
Necklaces by Anila Ahmad and Zoe Kendall
Tannishtha Chatterjee “Liberation is about making a difference to the lives of nut farmers and their families as well as producing delicious products. That its products have been used to create this wonderful jewellery is symbolic of the difference we can all make if we do things differently.”
Necklace by Yuko Hotta
Jane Horrocks “The graduate jewellery students of Central St Martin’s have done a wonderful job in transforming nuts and dried fruit into works of art – and Liberation is doing a wonderful job in beginning to transform the lives of marginalised nut farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America .”
Necklace by Zoe Kendall
Orla Brady “Trade should be carried out with respect between partners – like any relationship. Fairtrade is a guarantee of a fair price for farmers and Liberation gives the farmers ownership of the company which markets and sells their crops. An innovative way of doing trade which we can only hope others will copy.”
Hair clasp by Yuko Hotta
Alex Kingston “Some of the most exciting developments in the world today involve making small changes which added together will create big impact. Every Fairtrade nut and piece of fruit in this jewellery has been grown by farmers who have been treated fairly so this necklace is symbolic of a better way of being in the world.”
Necklace by Judith de Berker
Adjoa Andoh “My father is from Ghana in west Africa and I know how small farmers there struggle to compete with much larger businesses overseas. At Liberation, co-operatives of farmers co-own the company which means the benefits of the sale of their produce go directly back to the farmers and their communities - and we bag ourselves a fabulously high quality product. What's not to love! Buy Liberation.”
Necklace by Hazel Clucas.
Saffron Burrows "I think its time to liberate our minds and do business differently so farmers struggling in developing countries are given more of a level playing field to help them build their businesses and feed their families. That's why I'm supporting Liberation which is part owned by the farmers themselves who help make the decisions which affect their farms, their families and their lives."
Necklace by Yuko Hotta