Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fair Chocolate

Regular readers of this blog will know that I spend a lot of time thinking, writing, and speaking about coffee and the difficulty many farmers face in the "free trade" model that dominates this and most other industries. Dependent on a network of intermediaries who pay whatever the market will bear for their perishable product, "free" most often means that farmers and other workers are free to be exploited.

At Valentine's Day, we are reminded that coffee is not the only product for which FREE does not equal FAIR. I've written elsewhere about bananas, for example, and it is becoming better understood that chocolate often passes along quite a distasteful path on the way to being delicious.

The effort to change all this involves not only the offering of alternatives to conventional chocolate through companies such as Equal Exchange, but also campaigns to bring pressure on the conventional companies that continue to profit from slavery and child labor. The UUSC captures the contradictiono and provides a way to put pressure on Hershey.

I am very pleased that my January 2013 study tour in Nicaragua will include a full day with a fair-trade cocao cooperative in Matagalpa.

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