The Chocolate Life

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I admit it. I buy things from Amazon. And because I gave them an e-mail address so they can send notifications about my orders, they also send me notices of books I might be interested in.

I received a notice a while back about a book that Amazon thought I might be interested in because they noticed that other people who purchased some of the same books I purchases also expressed interest in a book titled Bella's Chocolate Surprise.

Bella's chocolate surprise? At first I wondered why (frantic mental ransacking of everything I've ever ordered from Amazon) they were sending me recommendations for books about interracial sex. When I loaded the images in the e-mail in my mail program, I realized it was a kid's book. Cue the sigh of relief.

Imagine my surprise when I read:

Lessons about fair trade are at the center of this adventure that begins on Bella's birthday. Her mother has baked a chocolate cake and, delicious though it is, Bella begins to wonder where chocolate comes from. With the help of her friend the Quetzal bird, Bella harnesses the powers of her mystical pendant and flies to Ghana in West Africa, where she befriends a group of children working in the cacao fields.

Children working in cacao fields? Apart from the fact that they're not fields (I think technically they are orchards because they are trees), what the [expletive deleted] are children doing working on a fair trade certified farm? Isn't one of the central tenets of the fair trade movement that there be no child labor involved - not just forced child labor?

Tags: bella, fair trade, gaffe, sex

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Hahaha! It's dangerous out there in the chocolate "field". I had to research "chocolate massage oil" and the links that popped up!! But on to your point about child labor, the mainstream press picked up the slavery story behind some cacao production a few years back, but the more insidious story of child labor - still accepted in so many developing countries - has not been reported as much. Raises issues of poverty, despair, global incongruities, etc. - headlines that upset our complacent comfort with having lots of food from around the world whenever we want it for not a lot money. But you know all this. I'm working with Transfair & WCF for all the latest scoop. Wish we could grow chocolate in a local greenhouse bubble.
Why can't you grow it in a greenhouse? I know it's finicky, but I got my house plant from a greenhouse where they thrived, and it occasionally flowers.
Maybe the kids escaped from the Nestlé orchard across the way, like transgenic pollen. Watch out or they'll sue!
We've got no midges (tropical gnats) to pollinate the flowers. Oh well. Can't have everything.
ah the old child labor conundrum.

here is the deal folks. Wether or not iit is "fair trade', which BTW is a crock of s**t when it comes to the contracts that transfair USA makes the farmers sign....another issue...

Most cacao farms are small family run operations in , know where they are. Excluding african sources lets take a moment and think about what it takes for a subsistance farmer of cacao to bring in his crop. We'll start with latin america. predominantly catholic through genocide, the prevailing culture is one of "family", large families. If you have X number of children to feed and you grow cacao it is only natural for the whole family to be involved in the harvesting and processing of the crop. This is NOT child slavery, this is family farming. Most of the small co-operatives in the organic/fair trade niche are just that, family run orchards. There is nothing wrong with having your family work the fields. This is different than the forced child labor we read about years ago in africa.

As a small farmer myself I too get my whole family involved in the harvesting of my crops. If we dont all pitch in it dies on the vine so to speak and my daughter helps gladly---sometimes---but I have not had to beat her to do it.....yet...j/k


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