Indulge with Chocolate that’s Eco-friendly and Better for You

Indulge with Chocolate that’s Eco-friendly and Better for You

Article by Laura Klein

That slow melting of a luscious piece of chocolate after a long day of work is like getting away—treating yourself to a mini-indulgence that’s just for you. If you’re looking to augment your organic food diet, you’ll want to add this decadent treat to the list of ingredients you buy regularly from the organic counter.

The cocoa used to make chocolate is grown on the cacao tree, the growth of which requires the second largest infusion of chemical pesticides and herbicides in the world (the highest pesticide use crop is cotton, of course). These chemicals wreak havoc on the health of cocoa growers and chocolate eaters alike. Lindane is a common pesticides used in chocolate grown in West Africa where it increases the rates of cancer and hormone disruption of local farmers.

Your chocolate bar may also harm the societal health of the farmers who grow it. Poor farmers are often encouraged to chop down the old growth forests in their communities to make room for tree stands for growing chocolate. Losing these forests reduces the region’s biodiversity, water retention, climate regulation, flood protection, and more. Plus, the application of pesticides combined with monoculturing can deplete the soil of nutrients, leaving the local people with soil that won’t grow anything.

You would think this would be enough, but chocolate is also bought from these already-suffering farmers at unfair prices. They often receive only one penny for a chocolate bar that you would pay 60 cents for. Plus, in many cases farmers are forced to employ their children in order to keep costs down and make a decent living.

You can choose a better indulgence by looking for organic food chocolate that has also been fairly traded. Both the Fairtrade Labelling Organization International and the Rainforest Alliance ensure that their cocoa farmers are given a fair wage for their labor so look for their labels.

Rainforest Alliance also strongly encourages farmers to use organic farming methods to save money and protect their land. You can also look for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Certified Organic label to ensure it’s been grown without the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides. These farming methods will also protect ground water supplies and wildlife, and because it is often grown in the shade of the existing forest canopy, organic cacao protects the rainforest as well.

So next time you want to indulge, think about the farmers, the planet, and your own health—and choose organic and fair trade.

Finally..organic food chocolate is not only better for you, it can also come with environmental and social benefits, too.

About the Author

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