Thoughts on well-being, sustainability and those things that constitute a good life beyond consumption.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Chocolate, sustainability, and some resources of interest

The WorldWatch Institute (with the tagline of “Vision for a Sustainable World; see ) has long been an organization that I have paid attention to because of the great resources that they develop.  In fact, I plan to use their 2010 State of the World Report entitled Transforming Cultures: from Consumerism to Sustainability for my new course in the spring.

Over the past year, I have been following closely one of their blogs about a project on innovations in agriculture that will have importance for reducing world hunger in a sustainable way.

Danielle Nierenberg, a co-director for this project co-authored an op-ed about cocoa farms that ended up in the Harrisburg Patriot this past weekend.

Now, I couldn’t dream of a “good life” without chocolate!  But, more importantly, there are many social and environmental issues related to cocoa production.  The article points out the many links to the chocolate industry that Pennsylvania has.  And I was surprised at the Nestlé presence in Ecuador (their chocolate bars available in stores there were much better than the commonly known products in the U.S.).  Cocoa has long been important to South America and there are connoisseurs of cocoa beans much like there are for coffee beans!  The flavor can vary tremendously depending on growing conditions and processing.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to any cocoa farms on my trip; that will have to be for a future visit to Ecuador.  One of the women who I was with in Pimampiro lives in Lititz, PA, which is home to the Wilbur Chocolate Company– not mentioned in the op-ed, but the makers of extremely good powder for hot chocolate. 

Fred Pearce provides an interesting account of the issues associated with cocoa farming in Confessions of an Eco-Sinner:  Tracking Down the Sources of My Stuff (Beacon Press, 2008) — another book to be used in my new course.

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