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All I wanted for Chanukah was some fair trade gelt…

December 23, 2006

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Chanukah 2007 update: Eureka!  Divine Chocolate has a great solution!  Buy!  Enjoy!  Mmm!  This is from the Ghana farmers’ co-op mentioned below.

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Only a few short weeks ago I became aware that Hershey and Mars, two of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world, purchase cacao (cocoa) from sources that in essence run child slave labor operations. Alas! I have a freezer full of Hershey’s Extra Dark bars — the new ones they introduced about a year ago, with cranberries, blackberries and almonds, or macadamia nuts. Mmmm! But no more for me, until or unless Hershey starts doing the right thing for the right reasons, i.e., purchasing fair trade cacao.Hope may be on the horizon. Hershey acquired Dagoba Organic Chocolate in October, and while this may appear to be yet another case of a creative small business being inhaled by the Big Corporation, one can hope Dagoba will be a positive influence on steering Hershey toward more socially responsible practices rather than profit for profit’s sake.Meanwhile, the National Havurah Committee reports on its Dec. 15-17 retreat in Cape Cod, which included a workshop on “Sahar Hogein,” A Jewish Approach to Fair Trade.Here’s how the retreat’s promotional text described this session:

Learn how to apply standards of fairness taught by the great Jewish sages in support of “fair trade,” an innovative approach to commerce that ensures that those who pick the coffee we drink at kiddush, who gather the cocoa in our chocolate Chanukah “gelt,” who harvest the sugar in our hamentashen, or who embroider our kippot, are paid living wages, given a voice in their work, and afforded an opportunity to improve their lives. Participants at this workshop will also be able to partake of the world’s first Fair Trade Chanukah gelt [enhancement by WebOfLife] via a farmers cooperative in Ghana.          

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