As we approach Valentine's Day and with it the commercial drive to purchase and consume chocolate as a symbol of love, I want to be sure that the folks I care about (i.e. you), are aware of the importance of choosing wisely when it comes to Cacao-based products.
I adore Cacao and consider the beautiful, loving spirit of this plant to be one of my most powerful allies. My relationship with Cacao is one I treasure and therefore do my best to honor with mindful purchasing and consumption.
As with many of the plants and crops colonized from indigenous peoples to turn a profit in our cash-driven world, there is a dark side to the Cacao and chocolate industry.
The Matador Network shares:
"According to the US Department of Labor, over two million children in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire work in hazardous conditions growing cacao and make less than $1 per day; some are even considered child slaves and are imprisoned on cocoa farms, according to the BBC. Responsibly consuming chocolate doesn’t just mean stopping when you’re full — it means being aware of which chocolate companies are adhering to ethical labor and sustainability standards and which aren’t."
Not all chocolate is created equally!
Many of the world's largest chocolate producing companies (i.e. Mars, Hershey & Nestle) have been or are actively involved in unethical and inhumane treatment of farm workers, including slavery, child labor, human trafficking, and unpaid labor.
How and where you spend your money matters! Do your research and be mindful of where your dollars are going.
Look for brands that are Fair Trade Certified, USDA Organic, or Rain Forest Alliance Certified.
And most importantly, I encourage you to create a relationship with your Cacao.
Cacao has been used ceremonially by indigenous peoples for centuries as a sacrament and sacred ally to open the heart, heal grief and pain, and remove barriers from giving and receiving love.
Cacao is a plant of tremendous love and generosity and so the simplest practice is one of sharing your love and generosity back...
Offer prayers of gratitude,
Make offerings to the spirit of the plant,
Consume chocolate and Cacao mindfully and with reverence,
Give a little of your chocolate back to the Earth,
Share this practice with a loved one.
Every intentional gesture can be a prayer on behalf of our world and future generations.
Simple things make a difference.
Small acts of devotion go a long way in making our world a kinder, more compassionate place.
Together, we create the world we wish to see.