May 2010 Blogs
- Real Girl: Jen
- Volleyball - bump... set... SPIKE!
- Allergies - What's behind the watery eyes and runny nose?
- It's Demanding to be PERFECT!
- Speak out on Gratitude
- Til DEBT Do Us Part
- Indulge in delicious, decadent chocolate... that is FAIR for everyone!
- The Mo(u)rning Letters, Chapter 1
- VIDEO: Justin Nozuka
Indulge in delicious, decadent chocolate... that is FAIR for everyone!
FEATURE BLOG, May 2010, by Jenifer Merifield
Indulge in delicious,
that is FAIR for everyone!
We are very excited to have Cocoa Camino (LaSiembra Co-operative) as this month’s cover sponsor; especially since May is Fair Trade Month. Those of you who were lucky enough to have joined us at our sampling events agree that Cocoa Camino is the most delicious chocolate ever!
Who Pays for Your Products?
Well, naturally you pay to buy things from the store, but what happens before they get to you? Every day we buy foods and other products we ‘consume’ and we hardly think about where things came from or who was involved in their making. There are many people around the world who are working really hard every single day making these products. Sadly, they earn barely enough money to feed their families. They are not paid fairly and they are certainly not treated the way we would expect to be treated on a job. Every time we purchase those products, we are indirectly supporting the unfair treatment of workers such as these in communities all around the world. As long as there is a demand for their products, the companies in charge of this unfair trade will continue producing. That’s why GCDA is so stoked about Cocoa Camino. Their chocolate is organic and Fair Trade. Therefore, we can indulge in the finest chocolate and be confident knowing that everyone involved was treated well and paid what they deserved.
What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade (definition by Transfair Canada the national body for fair trade certification in Canada): “Fair Trade seeks to change the terms of trade for the products we buy - to ensure the farmers and artisans behind those products get a better deal. Most often this is understood to mean ensuring better prices for producers, but it often also includes longer-term and more meaningful trading relationships. Fair Trade is really about making changes to conventional trade, which frequently fails to deliver on promises of sustainable livelihoods and opportunities for people in the poorest countries in the world.”
Fair Trade is a business model that is beneficial to us (the consumer) and everyone else involved in the making of their products (farmers, communities, producer co-operatives). It means that we get high-quality, ethical products and that business partnerships are developed that support sustainable livelihoods and community development. Cocoa Camino believes in meaningful, dignified employment and are guided by the co-operative principles, by the fair trade principles, and by a respect for the environment.
When Cocoa Camino produces yummy chocolate products with high ethical standards, a fair deal for producers is ensured by:
• Ensuring that there is no forced labour
• Guaranteeing fair prices to producers of these products
• Paying premiums to improve social conditions in producer communities
• Paying producers in advance to assist in long-term planning and pre-harvest financing
• Supporting democratic participation in farmer-owned co-operatives
• Supporting sustainable farming practices
What Makes Cocoa Camino So Fabulous?
Cocoa Camino has a line of gourmet Swiss chocolate bars that have been winning awards for quality. That’s because they only use the finest, Fair Trade Certified, 100% organic ingredients. Their chocolate is slowly blended (without the help of soy lecithin or other chemical emulsifiers) for a minimum of 60 hours to give Cocoa Camino bars that exquisite and creamy consistency. Mmmmm!
Who’s Behind the Chocolate?
La Siembra Co-operative was established 10 years ago by three young entrepreneurs. Today they are based in the Ottawa-Gatineau region of Canada. Having worked in Southern countries, the founders of La Siembra experienced the exploitative nature of trade on the lives of producers, and these three friends decided to provide Canadian consumers with an alternative to conventionally traded products. They bought a small mixing machine to make hot chocolate, convinced a few folks that they had a worthwhile idea and established a worker-owned co-operative. The name La Siembra means “sowing” or “planting time” in Spanish. It is also a symbol for the seeds of change that their co-operative is sowing through its fair trade, educational and co-operative activities.
As there was no fair trade certification system for cocoa-based products at that time, La Siembra’s founders adopted the guidelines of the Fair Trade Foundation. They began sourcing cocoa from a co-operative in Costa Rica and sugar from a mill supporting co-operative farmers in Paraguay. An organic recipe was developed and the founders began to manufacture and distribute fairly traded hot chocolate, sugar and cocoa.
In 2002 La Siembra worked with TransFair Canada to develop a certification system for cocoa, chocolate and sugar products in Canada and became the first registered importers of Fair Trade Certified cocoa and sugar in North America!
Today Cocoa Camino is Canada’s #1 selling fair trade, organic chocolate bar line, and for good reason. Unparalleled in quality and taste, their chocolate bars and hot chocolates are sure to please everyone. Plus, their ingredients come from environmentally responsible producers and are sourced under fair trade conditions.
Recently they have introduced a second brand called Cuisine Camino. Cuisine Camino is a family of fair trade organic ingredients perfect for everything from home baking to gourmet delights.
These Cuisine Camino products have been manufactured in their country of origin. In fact, the farmer co-ops that produce the raw ingredients are doing most of the manufacturing and transformation, and in some cases even the final packaging. For example, their new Whole Brown Sugar has been produced, manufactured and packaged by CEPICAFE in Peru, the same producer co-op that grows the sugar cane. And the cooperative Naranjillo, in Peru, produces everything from the cocoa bean to the actual packaged bars for their 3 new baking bars. LaSiembra is very proud of these collaborations as they bring them closer to the producers and deepen their commitment to the next level of Fair Trade.
Through the support for their producers over the years, LaSiembra (Cocoa Camino) have financed the following projects with the help of fair trade premiums:
- The creation of a rural health clinic in Paraguay
- Construction of water towers for village communities in the Dominican Republic
- Construction of nurseries for cocoa plants and driers for harvested cocoa beans
- Education subsidies and investment in educational materials and school renovation in the Dominican Republic
4 Things You Can Do
Try it. First of all, if you haven’t tried Cocoa Camino chocolate you MUST! You can get it at many local grocery stores, natural food stores and convenience stores. Check the store locator to see where you can get it in your area.
Second, check out the Teen Crew’s videos on Cocoa Camino chocolate bars and hot chocolate.
Third, go to the Transfair Canada website. They have an online tool that will help you locate retailers as well as cafés and restaurants that sell Fair Trade certified products like tea, bananas, flowers, or chocolate all across Canada: www.transfair.ca/en/find_a_retailer
(you can also get more info on Canadian Fair Trade Weeks in May, and the history of how it came about).
Fourth, go to the Cocoa Camino site to download their exciting fair trade educational toolkit for teachers and youth group leaders that they launched in 2007. This toolkit has been designed to help facilitate activities in classrooms or communities that will teach children and youth about fair trade, and particularly about fair trade cocoa and chocolate. This tool will help you spread the word about Fair Trade!
We always say: “A girl’s gotta have her chocolate!” …now you can indulge in delicious and decadent chocolate knowing that it's FAIR for everyone. Enjoy!