Slave Free Chocolate
We've been wrestling with what to do about chocolate this year.
Each easter, in addition to Good Friday & Resurrection Sunday gatherings, Reality Vancouver church also coordinates a community-wide easter egg hunt & carnival (Saturday). With 70% of the world's chocolate being produced in West Africa - an area rife with slave and child labor - we struggle to go from celebrating the person and work of Christ to serving chocolate likely produced at the expense and exploitation of others. That is - how can we celebrate our God who came to set us free (Luke 4) - while serving inexpensive chocolate harvested by children in slavery? We can't.
Making an individual choice is easy. But how do we, as a Christian community, model global justice & mercy, even as we seek to serve & build relationships in our neighbourhood?
Here are a few places to start:
First, learn about the issue. Most of us are simply ignorant to the reality that children are forced to work with little/no pay in the harvesting of cocoa. So the more we know, the more responsibility we have to act in a just & merciful way to our brothers & sisters in West Africa. There are many online resources, but some that we recommend are listed here:
You can make a making a difference, one chocolate bar at a time.
Second, we have no choice but to let our words and actions match. Along with our organic, fairly traded coffee from JJBeans, we will also work to have our chocolate for the easter egg hunt & beyond, 'slave-free'.
This will cost more, but it's well worth it.
We don't want to love our candy more than the children forced to work as slaves to pick our beans.
In 2010 the only labeled 'fair trade / slave-free' chocolate easter eggs were from Divine Chocolate and sold only at 10,000 Villages. There is rumour out there that Cadbury's will soon be certified Fair Trade, which is good news for those of us who missed out our annual Easter Creme Egg fix. Hopefully, with enough public pressure, other large Canadian chocolate companies will follow suit. We can make a difference.