Sustainable Harvest International Offers Fair Trade Chocolate Tours in Belize
photo: Sustainable Harvest
As you sink your teeth into that decadent chunk of bitterly dark, Fair Trade chocolate, you can’t help but thank the chocolate gods that such an indulgent treat was ever invented. And now you can take your thanks straight to the source. Sustainable Harvest Chocolate Tours allow you to see where your Fair Trade, organic chocolate comes from and how this incredibly important industry helps the communities it serves.Sustainable Harvest International (SHI), a Maine-based non profit promoting sustainable agriculture, is offering eco-foodies the opportunity to volunteer on cacao farms in Belize building wood conserving stoves, touring local cacao farms, and attending presentations on Fair Trade and cacao cooperatives. And of course, you get to sample tons of high quality Fair Trade chocolate. The wood conserving stoves that volunteers help to construct reduce necessary fire wood by 1/4 and greatly reduce the toxic smoke produced roasting cacao beans. Participants also get to plant cacao trees, one of the area's most vital resources.
The trip also includes a lesson in sustainable gardening including sustainable planting techniques, compost, natural pest control, and seed-saving. Visit with representatives from the Toledo Cacao Growers Association and Greens and Black's Organic Chocolate Company, to see how the cacao makes it from the farm to the store. The trip is $2,500 which includes your stay at the Cotton Tree Lodge, meals, tours, and a $500 donation to a local community program.
photo: Sustainable HarvestWhy is sustainable cacao agriculture so important?
The picture above shows the sad practice of slash and burn farming and how it completely destroys the land that once resembled paradise. This practice is one of the main causes of deforestation in the tropics. According to Sustainable Harvest, non-sustainable agriculture is putting extreme pressure on threatened species of plants and animals and destroying fragile ecosystems. Each day, we loose approximately 7 species from our planet forever. Sustainable cacao production provides a viable resource in the area while conserving the land for future generations.