Fairtrade pioneer Traidcraft has partnered with The Alnwick Garden Trust for an exhibition bound to a-maze visitors.
An array of themed activities will be at key locations around The Garden, with the exhibition centrepiece being a replica of a traditional bamboo house – a typical dwelling for farmers and their families in developing countries – which is hidden deep in The Garden’s labyrinth.
Traidcraft and the Trust have joined forces to promote the Let it Grow campaign and the Roots and Shoots Project, which both help children to live a happier and healthier life.
The initiative aims to raise awareness to help smallholder farmers in some of the world’s poorest countries to develop their farming practices and, in doing so, build the skills to trade their way out of poverty.
In preparation for the joint initiative, Alnwick Garden’s head gardener Trevor Jones visited India in December to see Traidcraft’s work with farmers first hand. His experiences there have helped shape the exhibition, including the bamboo house attraction, which runs until tomorrow.
Trevor said: “Visiting India with Traidcraft opened my eyes to the vital work being done to support farmers and communities in developing countries.
“While there are similarities between my job here at The Garden and the work of farmers overseas, in that growing plants is our livelihood, the hardships and challenges those smallholder farmers and their families face just to grow enough food to feed themselves is incredible.
“Having seen for myself the life-changing work that Traidcraft does, it is fantastic to be able to raise awareness of the Let It Grow campaign in The Alnwick Garden.
“Visitors might find it hard to believe a whole family would live in a house similar to the one we’ve hidden in our maze.
“The Let It Grow campaign echoes our successful Roots and Shoots community project.
“The Trust places great emphasis on the importance of play for a healthy childhood and the whole garden is focussed on offering children the space and the opportunity for creative play.”
A striking photography exhibition capturing images of children in Traidcraft communities in rural Bangladesh and children in Northumberland with their favourite toys will also be on display until tomorrow.
Larry Bush, Traidcraft’s marketing manager, said: “We’re delighted to work with The Alnwick Garden Trust to raise awareness of our Let It Grow campaign and I’m sure that children and parents alike will not only enjoy the activities, but also learn a little about Traidcraft’s work and the lives of farmers and their families in developing countries.
“Across the world, skilled farmers struggle to make ends meet and feed their families, often because of factors far beyond their control. Every pound raised for Traidcraft’s Let It Grow appeal gives these people a chance to escape poverty, by cultivating a better future for themselves. Together, we can provide people with the opportunity to thrive and fulfil their potential.
“Donations made will be divided between the Roots and Shoots Project and the Let It Grow campaign.”
Families can also show support by making brightly coloured ribbon toys at The Garden today and tomorrow. These have become a symbol of the Let It Grow campaign after children in India and Myanmar, whose families are supported by Traidcraft projects, created them to celebrate the organisation’s work.
Yesterday, visitors were able to do potting and planting in the polytunnel. For information about the Let It Grow event at The Garden, visit alnwickgarden.com