Friday, February 12, 2010

Small Things = Big Difference or the bitter truth about your Valentine's Day chocolate

I don't want to be a stick in the mud

(although what is wrong with being a stick in the mud anyway other than the fact you are getting .. well .. muddy..)

and ruin your Valentine's Day chocolate binge .... but ....

much of the world's cocoa (chocolate's main ingredient) is grown in developing nations by very poor farmers.

70% of the world’s cocoa production is grown in West Africa employing more than half the country. Most of the world’s cocoa production includes child slave labor and starvation level wages for farmers.

U.S. chocolate manufacturers have deflected responsibility for the conditions on cocoa plantations, citing lack of ownership of the plantations although 4/5 of the chocolate candy market is controlled by three major American firms — Hershey's, M&M/Mars and Nestle.

Now, I know you need your chocolate fix now and then. I need mine, too and I have to admit I have not always been so mindful of the brand I was buying (I am now), but one small thing we can do that would make a big difference is to choose chocolate with meaningful eco-labels.

This can help make a real difference in the lives of the people who grow cocoa and this can also benefit the environment.

Organic certification means that:

• Farmers emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality

• Crops are grown without using synthetic fertilizer or the most persistent pesticides

• Crops are produced without genetic engineering or ionizing radiation

Fair trade certified means that:

• Farmers and workers receive a fair price for their product

• Trade is done directly between farmer-owned cooperatives and buyers

• Crops are grown using soil and water conservation measures that restrict the use of agrochemicals

There are alot of fair trade chocolate choices these days and they can be found at your local grocery store. We can stop buying what the major candy companies provide us on the backs of impoverished farmers, children forced into slave labor and the environment.

It may cost a bit more, but good chocolate really is a luxury, was never intended to be a daily treat, and can be one pleasure you do not have to feel the least bit guilty about.

(the dark kind is even good for us)

4 comments:

Cristin said...

Interesting... so Cadbury is a "safe" chocolate? If so, good - because its one of my favs! :-)

Kitty said...

I left something for you on my blog.It will be posted tomorrow (sat.)

www.liquidambarstudio.blogspot.com

Carapace said...

Yes, yes, yes, a hundred times yes. Fair-trade and eco-friendly chocolate is available in Walgreen's, for gosh sakes, it's hardly a rare and difficult commodity. And it tastes SO much better! I don't know why customers haven't brought more pressure to bear on the big companies to deal in Triple-Certified Chocolate, it's just so yummy! I hope your post hopes spread some awareness!

readingsully2 said...

Happy Valentines!