If you have been following the journey of the Kallari organic chocolate cooperative since I first wrote about them in January 2006 you will be as delighted as we are to hear that Kallari chocolate bars are now available to buy from Whole Foods in the US. Their arrival into the mainstream market was marked appropriately last week by an article in the revered dining and wine section of the New York Times. Yes Kallari have hit the big time! The progress that this cooperative of Amazonian cacao farmers has made over the past three years, since we first found out about them, is quite astonishing.Path to Sustainable Success
From January 2006, when we first heard about Kallari's innovative approach to producing organic chocolate, to November 2008 we have witnessed this amazing organisation develop from exporter of fair trade and organic cacao beans to European chocolate makers to producing, marketing and exporting their own brand of organic chocolate bar, which is now selling at a premium price in one of most popular health food stores in the US.
The Chocolate Factory Dream
Along the way Kallari has engaged with many enthusiastic volunteers, such as myself, who in their various capacities have helped the cooperative in Ecuador and have then taken the Kallari story around the world with them. As a result of this open minded and welcoming attitude Kallari has taken part in the Open Architecture Challenge organised by Architecture For Humanity to find a design for their own chocolate factory. Kallari's Kichwa communities have now met the architects of the winning design who recently visited Ecuador and the requisite funds to build their dream are slowly being gathered together.
On top of all of this last year Kallari inspired Stephen McDonnell, the founder of Applegate Farms, to invest $250 000 into the cooperative to help them turn a higher percentage of their cacao harvest into their own brand organic chocolate bar, which brings them four times the profit than if they just sold the beans. Thanks to Mr. McDonnell's investment, the dedication of founder Judy Logback and the hard work of everyone at Kallari their world class single source organic chocolate has now reached the shelves of Whole Foods, the pages of the New York Times and has even received a five star review on the Phil Lempert's show.
Exemplary Sustainable Business Model
Congratulations to Kallari for providing an excellent example of how local communities, in environmentally threatened areas such as the Ecuadorian Amazon, can overcome adversity through dedication, perseverance and hard work to create a source of sustainable income from their renewable natural resources.
More on Kallari Chocolate:
Kallari – Sustainable Crafts And Organic Chocolate Preserving Amazonian Culture
A Sweeter Truth: Making Organic Fair Trade Chocolate in Ecuador
The Chicago Green Festival From An Exhibitor's Perspective
AMD Open Architecture Challenge Selects Community Partners
Open Architecture Challenge: And The Winners Are...