Monday, February 4, 2008

I Heart Fairtrade Chocolate

Soooo...I know where you stand, readers. Most of you are chocolate-desiring, not chocolate-indifferent. But an anonymous commenter way back in November first alerted me to the labor issues swirling in my cup of hot chocolate, and the phrase "child slavery" is really too much for this mama to gloss over.

Via Baby Toolkit, a reminder (or a harbinger of doom, if this is new to you and you care deeply about both sweets and justice) that chocolate comes with a dear cost to African children, some of whom are sold to harvest and process it. Since fair trade chocolate is available, I think this mama's going to have to try to switch us on over. I know it's expensive (I just went to the Dagoba website since I've had their dark chocolate bars mmmmm and thought I'd look into chocolate chips and YIKES, we may have to go for oatmeal raisin every now and again) but I imagine this is one of those issues where once you know, there's no going back. 43% of the cacao beans produced may be tainted by present-day slavery, and the way the supply chain works, all the major chocolate producers' beans are mixed together. Unless we buy fair trade chocolate, odds are that we're supporting unjust labor practices impacting children.

I've gotten Dagoba bar chocolates at Cost Plus World Market (although I don't see them online -- maybe they only have them in their stores) and they are delectable. I know Whole Foods has a selection of fair trade chocolate bars (Green & Black's Maya Gold bar is tasty and fair-trade). Not sure about the chips and cocoa but I will report back if I find good sources. I would love any tips from readers about where to find milk chocolate products (not chips but bars, different candies, etc.) that use fair trade chocolate. It's easy to find dark chocolate bars but the many milk permutations seem elusive. All the fair trade chocolate seems pretty highbrow, I must say, which has its place. But for someone used to lining up double digits of Rolos on a pregnant belly shelf to make, you know, any number of pals, it's just not the same experience to have a nibble of an extra-dark bar with hints of lavender, if you get my drift.

May we be able to find something truly sweet (and just) for our loves this Valentine's Day.

8 comments:

Laura said...

Hi MamaBird -- I'm visiting by way of Mrs. G's. You are one of my New Favorites. :) I totally get the nesting thing -- my blog is CenterDownHome. It takes a lot to dislodge me.

MamaBird said...

Hey, welcome, Laura, I like your blog and I heart Alfie Kohn, too! Great bumper stickers for homeschoolers, too... Mrs. G is the greatest, I love her writing *and* her community of smart women.

Susannah said...

Hi MamaBird, did you hear that our PTA is not sponsoring a full-fledged Sally Foster campaign next year? For one thing, people are tired of it so we are doing an online-only version for serious gift wrap junkies. For another, it's not very green to sell virgin paper, no matter how pretty (altho DC now takes gift wrap in our recycling bins).

I talked to a friend at another school recently who is trying to convince her PTA to do a fair-trade coffee & chocolate fundraiser -- want to help me start that up for our school?

Lynn from OrganicMania.com said...

Hi Mamabird, there's some fair trade chocolate from Ghana that's actually got its corporate HQ right here in DC - Divine Chocolate. It's delicious. You can get it at Whole Foods and 10,000 Villages. Yum. They also have a website - divinechocolateusa.com

MamaBird said...

Sure do, in fact I have a host of greener ideas courtesy of Paula from Urban Children's Studio -- toner recycling but also fair trade chocolates etc. Let's talk....

MamaBird said...

Thanks so much, OrganicMania! Fairtrade and sorta local, too... Appreciate the tip.

bipolarlawyercook said...

Green & Black's cocoa powder is excellent and Whole Foods usually carries it. Their milk and milk + almond bars are also excellent.

Sharley said...

Chocolove is tasty and they have organic varieties. They are not certified Fair Trade, but if you read their FAQs they do abide by fair trade standards. This is believable because they are a small company that makes their chocolate locally. Our house cannot decide if we prefer Chocolove or Green & Blacks.