If I were to make a Beth Baker pro/con list I think ‘constant internal dialogue’ would be in both columns. When I read something that makes me stop and think I tend to mull it over [and over] until I settle on an attitude I’m comfortable with. I seek out a balance between what I can practically accomplish in my way with the idealism my new thoughts are driving.
So when my friend Nikki wrote about switching her family to fair-trade chocolate it made me stop. Chocolate is one of my favorite foods. I loved the way Nikki talked about shopping with integrity. We want our food to be cheap, but that comes with a cost of its own. I had never thought of how the chocolate I devoured was created.
Today I sat down with Nikki and she shared a little about how her chocolate convictions began. Nikki is an amazing photographer [check out her work] who volunteered her time to take photographs for Partners for Just Trade. Through that partnership, Nikki began to learn of the cocoa harvesting practices on Africa’s Ivory Coast. Many of the area’s cocoa farmers buy children from their impoverished parents and force them to work without pay. This article entiled, “Is There Slavery In Your Chocolate” by John Robbins might make you feel a little sick to your stomach.
The idea of children being forced to work on cocoa farms pressed hard against Nikki’s heart. Their family had already begun to investigate the adoption process and now she could only think of her future children. Of how the food choices she made here could impact their lives, on another continent. I think that’s the hardest thing for me, being willing to open my world up beyond my sights.
It seems like something so easy: taking a stand against companies who are purchasing cocoa from farmers using child-slave labor. But it won’t be an issue if we don’t make it one, if we don’t commit to shopping with integrity.
So that’s how I was inspired by Nikki’s chocolate convictions. I think it’s our responsibility to know where our food comes from. I know, for our family, it feels like a tall mountain to climb. But what if we started small? With just fair-trade chocolate?
Thanks for letting me share my [once] internal dialogue. I feel blessed to have so many friends who inspire me to have beautiful spaces and beautiful hearts. Thanks Nikki, you’ve totally earned the ‘Most Likely to Inspire a Chocolate Change’ superlative!
p.s. Check out this awesome infographic from Fair Trade USA. When you click on it you’ll go to their site where you can hover over each category to get more information!