February 13, 2017
By Mackenzie Nargiz
Student, St. Mary’s College of Maryland
Around Valentine’s Day, it is estimated that over $1 billion dollars will be spent on chocolate alone over the course of the month. That’s over 50 million pounds of chocolate purchased for loved ones worldwide. With that in mind, it is important to consider the local and global impacts being a chocolate-consumer can have on cocoa farmers and the environment. Purchasing chocolates from organic, Fair Trade companies shows your love for our planet, humanity, and the recipient of your sweet gift.
Although some might not think of chocolate with the same consideration as produce or meat, it is still important to support those visionary and sustainable cocoa farmers out there. By purchasing chocolate or cocoa powder from an organic company, your purchase helps empower fair trade practices, maintains vital habitats for birds and insects and reduces or eliminates the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Fair trade, organic farming practices allow for the longevity of the farm and the product. We can all agree we would like to be eating chocolate 25 years from now!
Luckily, it is easier than it sounds to purchase environmentally-friendly chocolate products. Some of the most well-known organic chocolate companies include Endangered Species Chocolate, Equal Exchange and Zotter, and they have prepared for the upcoming holiday as well.
Zotter, an Austrian chocolate company ranked one of the best in the world, is dedicated to entirely sustainable and fair trade chocolate production which doesn’t compromise the taste. The company also introduced several Valentine-themed heart chocolates including the Vegan “Heart” (vegan chocolate filled with superfoods) and the “Heart Pizza with Roses,” a perfect chocolate treat to show your love for family and friends and the environment.
Equal Exchange’s Fair Trade products, such as cocoa powder and cocoa mix are perfect purchases for baking homemade chocolate heart treats or hot cocoa. They even provide recipes for delicious chocolate sugar cookies and Classic Love Cocoa. These recipes allow you to give the gift of a delicious homemade and ethical Valentine’s day treat.
This Valentine’s Day, if you plan to buy chocolates, buy wisely. While your significant other will appreciate the unique and thoughtful gift, you can rest easy knowing your purchase helped promote long-term sustainable farming practices around the world.