Along with writing, I’m known for my love of dark chocolate, hot tea, and healthy food. I’ve been grinding my own flour for over fifteen years, and before becoming an author, I had a blog on healthy eating and enjoyed sharing my lifestyle with others. However, living in the Deep South, I often get teased about my food choices–especially when I visit my family in small towns.
A few years ago I stumbled upon a video about child slavery and chocolate. That video led me to do more research and watch other videos, and in that moment, my life changed. I swore I would no longer support or buy non fair-trade chocolate, and I’ve lived by that rule ever since.
Although I don’t push my lifestyle on others, it gets noticed when I’m out shopping or eating with friends and family. If I don’t see the fair-trade mark or something written about ethically sourced, I won’t even consider it. It’s just not an option for me. It’s that important.
Unfortunately, slavery has always been around, and I believe it always will be. It’s not just in the chocolate industry, either. It’s a problem with food, clothing, electronics, and so much more. It’s everywhere!
I can’t stop slavery, but I don’t have to support it. I can also help to make others aware so that we can come together to fight it. If enough people demand ethical treatment by supporting fair-trade companies, things could slowly change in the right direction. In fact, it already is. There are people already fighting for that cause. We just need to support it.
There are SO many videos and articles on slavery in the chocolate industry, and this post took longer than I expected since I found myself searching for a specific video. I know most people don’t have hours to go through everything on the topic, so I wanted to give you a short video. I also wanted you to look into the eyes of actual survivors. It’s only a few minutes long, so please watch it.
When I think of the chocolate industry, I think of the children stolen from their families, driven nearly three hundred miles to a village where they don’t speak the same language, thrown into a shed with other children, and beaten if they don’t work from sunrise to sunset–never getting paid. That is the dark truth about the sweets we so often buy our own children. It’s not right, and it must stop.
As for the cost of fair-trade chocolate, and even finding it in small towns, it’s not that expensive or hard to find. My favorite choice is cheaper than most other brands, and I’ve found it in all the small towns I’ve visited. CVS even carries it in some small towns. Before I moved from Atlanta, I often found it BOGO at Krogers. It’s always on stock at my house. (Or my husband rushes out to get more–feed the beast!) The Endangered Species brand carries a large variety, and 10% of their profits goes to charity.
There’s also BarkThins. You can now find them at most gas stations. Although the almond and pretzel varieties are the ones you’ll most likely find, they actually have a lot of choices. I became addicted to their chocolate covered pumpkin seeds from Costco and had to limit buying it, because I would lose control of my daily portions. I just couldn’t stop with them.
If you live in a small town, start looking around. I’ve not found a place I can’t get fair-trade chocolate. You just have to look for it.