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Whole Gourmet Natural Cooking

Alison Anton's Natural Cooking Blog offers healthy recipes, inspirational food articles and culinary advice for the natural chef, and features dessert recipes from her upcoming cookbook, Desserts for Every Body.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Trick or Treat? Fair Trade Halloween Chocolate!

There’s a bittersweet tale behind chocolate. As much as we love to see our kids parading through the neighborhood for sweets, kids on the Ivory Coast of Africa (where 43 percent of the world’s cocoa is produced) are being sold into abusive child labor camps on the cocoa farms. Young kids are forced to work excruciatingly long hours with very little or no pay under extreme conditions.

This is largely due to the insufficient income for cocoa farmers. The major chocolate companies (Hershey's, M&M/Mars and Nestle) still refuse to pay a fair trade price for chocolate. Why? Because Westerners are addicted to getting chocolate for cheap. Since we can get it at such a low cost and at an arm's reach, we assume chocolate is a dime a dozen. In all actuality, chocolate should be pricey; it is an arduous crop to produce, taking 400 pods of cocoa to yield just one pound of chocolate.

The “fair trade” label is part of the solution. Buying fair trade is a commitment to pay a little more so that the farmers get their fair share. It also means that the chocolate was purchased from farms that do not practice abusive child labor.

What can you do? This year, purchase fair trade chocolate to hand out to your little ghouls and goblins. It’s a little step, but a little goes a long way.

Buying fair trade Halloween chocolate is easy:

Global Exchange has individually packaged chocolate treats online. I’m doing the gold coins this year – I see a big pumpkin filled with sparkley treats for little fingers to grab!

For store bought chocolate, the following companies produce fair trade chocolates. They can be found at grocery and specialty stores:

Equal Exchange (100% fair trade)
Divine (100% fair trade)
Ithaca Fine Chocolates (100% fair trade)
Dagoba
Green and Black's
Endangered Species

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