Lauren Bruhn

You wont find a group of people more friendly than those that attend a chocolate festival. Earlier this winter we were some of those people, trying sample after sample of chocolate at The Northwest Chocolate Festival in Seattle. From pure dark chocolate to lavender white chocolate, the variety seemed unending and the chocolatiers are as kind as you’d imagine.

Our team headed out to Seattle not only for the free samples, but with the mission to bring additional awareness to the chocolate world. Even as a commodity with such high demand, there remains a massive gap between the consumers and the producers.

The one consistency that remains in the history of chocolate is the people that see the product from the ground up, literally. The farmers are the heroes of the chocolate world. Yet, as the only people that keep this delicious resource from running dry they often receive mere pennies for their product, all the while the chocolate industry averages an income of over 80 billion dollars per year. Clearly, a sizable gap remains between these cacao farmers and us, the people that love to eat chocolate. An individual in the community makes about $600 per year and their annual living expenses are higher than the average family in the US. Ignorance remains, although attention towards the exploitation of cacao farmers has undeniably spread over the last few years. Even if the facts are frightening, hope still remains.

We’ve witnessed tremendous growth with our farmers this year, to read our 2016 update, click here.

One of the largest goals that the community had for themselves was to create a greater sense of purpose in the lives of their women. The women of Rancho Grande are tough but extremely kind mothers and wives, but very rarely do they leave their homes. In a community so secluded from the modern world the opportunities for women are scarce. For over a year our team has been working with the women of Rancho Grande, our question to them always being, “What do you dream of doing?” Now, the women have formed their own group within the community, their daughters tagging along, to harvest small batches of cacao. From there they’ve partnered with a smoothie shop in the nearby community of El Tuma where the owner sells a Cacao Milk smoothie, the most popular drink of the menu.

It takes a village, literally, to make such ambitions a reality.

Only in their togetherness can they accomplish so much in such little time. We know the same to be true over in our US offices. We’re incredibly thankful to our volunteers from Substance Church, and our families for their support. We wouldn’t be able to hit our grandiose goals without your helping hands.

Walking through life without a greater sense of purpose is too great a burden for anyone to carry. If so much good can come from 6,000 cacao beans, we can barely imagine how much good will unfold in the coming years. Join us in 2017 to spread a greater sense of purpose around the globe!

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A Farm to Bar Life.