Alternative Glitter In The Amazon

3271

Edmilson Estevão climbs a mature cacao tree to pick the fruit. Photograph: João Laet/The Guardian

In the Authentica shops our featured chocolates are artisanal in terms of production, and both companies are leaders in their own ways–sourcing, packaging, etc.–in terms of sustainability. We are just now tasting chocolates from a third possible supplier, one that farms the cacao organically and is in control of all stages of production and packaging–from farm to bar as they say. When we have their product on our shelves, you will be the first to know, right here. Since our thoughts are already on this topic, special thanks to the Guardian for this story that helps better understand the many ways in which cacao can create a brighter future:

Cacao not gold: ‘chocolate trees’ offer future to Amazon tribes

In Brazil’s largest indigenous reserve thousands of saplings have been planted as an alternative to profits from illegal gold mining

The villagers walk down the grassy landing strip, past the wooden hut housing the health post and into the thick forest, pointing out the seedlings they planted along the way. For these Ye’kwana indigenous men, the skinny saplings, less than a metre high, aren’t just baby cacao trees but green shoots of hope in a land scarred by the violence, pollution and destruction wrought by illegal gold prospecting. That hope is chocolate.

4200

Cacao seeds, which are dried and roasted to make chocolate. Photograph: João Laet/The Guardian

“We want to plant and develop income for the community,” says Júlio Ye’kwana, 39, president of the Ye’kwana people’s Wanasseduume association, which came up with the idea. “And it is not destructive for the forest.”

In the last two years, thousands of Theobroma cacao trees have been planted near Waikás and other villages in the remote Yanomami indigenous reserve. The saplings were planted within the forest because cacao likes shade, an idea borrowed from agroforestry techniques successfully used for cacao elsewhere in the Amazon.

Villagers hope that within a few years rich, organic chocolate will be produced from the golden cacao fruit these trees bear. The project – run by the reserve’s indigenous associations Wanasseduume and Hutukara with Brazilian non-profit group Instituto Socioambiental (ISA) – is ambitious, but experts say it is based on a potential commercial reality.

Located in the far north of the Brazilian Amazon, Yanomami is Brazil’s biggest indigenous reserve, spread over 9.6 million hectares (23.7m acres). But its wild, mountainous forests are overrun by an estimated 20,000 wildcat goldminers, called garimpeiros.

Ye’kwana and Yanomami indigenous leaders called for the garimpeiros to be expelled with a letter and group photo later shared by actor Leonardo DiCaprio…

Read the whole story here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s