I’ve but together a playlist of videos about chocolate. You can go to the list or view all the videos in the player here.
Yes, you heard it right folks, step right up; come one, come all; I’m gonna pay you to eat chocolate. Do I have your attention now? Good. I’d like to embark on a bit of an experiment with five other willing participants. I’d like to encourage others to eat chocolate in the same way I have. A few years ago, I decided to start eating Fair-trade chocolate. To put it bluntly, I was bothered by the idea of purchasing products that were harvest by children in slavery. I’d like to encourage others to make the switch to fair-trade chocolate and today, I’m putting my money where my mouth is.
Here are the specifics:
- I will take five participants (the pockets are only so deep). In the event that we have more then five interested, my wife will decide whose in and whose out. This is intended for people I know personally, but anyone is welcome to inquire.
- I will pay for the difference between what you would normally purchase in conventional chocolate and the cost of switching to a fair trade option (up to $20 a month). For example, let’s say you typically by 3 chocolate bars a week at $1 a piece (total $12 a month). Instead you commit to buying fair trade chocolate bars at $2 a piece (total $24 a month). I will give you the difference, $12, to make that switch.
- This will mean doing less impulse buying (vending machines or checkout lines) and planning ahead a little (ordering online or visiting a local co-op to stock up).
- I’ll check in each month to discuss how much you spent. I will ask for you to track it. The goal isn’t to abuse my generosity, but to provide an incentive for others to make the switch to Fair-trade.
- I plan on continuing the experiment for 6 months.
- If you participate you will need to commit to purchasing and eating/drinking only fair-trade chocolate during the 6 months.
So, how does that sound? Interested in joining me in this little experiment?
Need more info on the Chocolate industry?
- I enjoyed this creative kid friendly book called:
Chaga and the Chocolate Factory
- Global Exchange, Valentines Day Action
- A Children’s sermon on the topic of chocolate.
- Everyday Justice is a great book and has a wonderful section on Chocolate which you can read most of online at Google books (and then buy a copy, right Julie ;).
I’m going to make this appeal extremely short and straightforward: Please don’t by chocolate this Easter (unless it’s certified Fair Trade). Here is why:
- Nearly half of the worlds chocolate comes from Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa.
- Thousands of children are forced to work on cocoa farms there (not family farms, forced labor: slavery)
This is different then the fair-trade vs. free-trade argument that comes up regarding coffee and some other commodities. This is a certified (meaning independent regulators, investigation etc) vs. unregulated (meaning enslaved children are likely harvesting the cocoa for your chocolate).
I’m very glad that legalized slavery was eliminated in this country many years ago, but our unconscious consumers is fueling slavery today. Buy jelly beans or something this Easter, but if your going to buy chocolate please make it fair trade.
Fair Trade chocolate options: Equal Exchange, Global Exchange, Cadbury (but not this year, they have http://www.stopthetraffik.org/news/press/cadbury.aspx that there Dairy Milk product will be Fairtrade certified by late 2009)
Will you avoid buying chocolate this Easter?
Here was the writing prompt:
what’s right for some, is not right for all. I’d love to hear your thoughtful analysis of
2 things you do in your life because of your relationship with jesus that you think is right for all
Monday I mentioned two things I do that are right for me, but not necessarily something I think everyone has to follow. Today, I’m going to try and mention, without offending, two things I do that I think everyone should do.
1) I eat only ‘fair-trade’ chocolate. Unlike coffee, tea and other products where people advocate fair-trade (and I agree you should support fair-trade, though it’s not perfect), chocolate is one of the few goods that uses in large part children in forced labor to harvest. My ‘free market’ friends might argue that rigging the market so that ‘fair-trade’ farmers get an artificially high price for coffee beans, but it’s different with chocolate. Fair-trade chocolate is primarily an attempt to keep children from being enslaved to harvest the beans for your Hershey’s kiss or fudge chunk sundae. I think everyone should eat only fair-trade chocolate so that 284,000 children who are forced to harvest cocoa beans will be freed because there will be no demand (and that’s the ‘free market’ at work).
2) I think everyone should meet their neighbors. Seriously, if you don’t know your neighbors, the ones the next door down (or up) from you, then stop what your doing, walk out the door and go knock on their door, now, I’ll wait… Ask if you can borrow an egg. In our techonolgy and consumer driven society, not only are we building fewer relationships, but we tend to form relationships with people just like us. We meet and hang out and spend time with people that attend the same social events or clubs that we do, church, soccer, gardening, college major, etc. We met and connect with people from all over and we are all constantly driving all over the map to hangout with people that are just like us. Less and less do we form relationships simply because we are in proximity to people (like your neighbor). And who knows, you might have a lot in common, or you might be nothing alike. But meeting and getting to know your neighbor is an opportunity to form a relationship on the basis of nothing but proximity. And the benefits are huge.
Honestly, I probably could make a longer list, but who wants to read about me pushing my values on you (that’s probably what the majority of this blog tends to be anyways isn’t it?). The two things above are things I think are right for everybody, and each and every one of you will be better for it if you choose to do those things.
About three weeks ago I realize that I had been avoiding awareness on a topic that I know I had seen before: chocolate. Anyone who browses articles and info on fair trade has probably seen both tea and chocolate mentioned along side coffee as it relates to discussion on fair trade.
It’s been easy for me to boycott drinking non-fair trade coffee and tea, because I don’t drink tea and coffee anyways. What I had been avoiding is looking into the chocolate industry. Why? Because I like chocolate. But a brief inquiry, proved that if I was going to live my life in a way that keeps me from being involved directly in the injustice machine of consumerism, then I was going to have to stop eating chocolate.
It’s been harder then I thought. I don’t think about it very much, and in the first week I had mint chocolate chip ice cream, hot chocolate, and a chocolate donut without thinking twice, only to realize later that day. I’m getting better though. I also have a box of fair trade chocolate bars to help me slowly wean myself off and avoid major withdrawal symptoms.
I know Valentine’s day is coming soon, and that’s why I wanted to throw this topic out there before people do any major shopping over the weekend. If your thinking about Valentine’s gifts I would encourage you to think about fair trade as it relates to coffee, and conflict free as it relates to diamonds (that’s a whole different ball game).
If your looking for some more info on the Chocolate issue, I enjoyed this creative kid friendly book called:
Chaga and the Chocolate Factory (PDF)
Here are two other links:
Stop The Traffik