How does the chocolate you buy impact the birds in your yard?
Chocolate begins with the cocoa plant, which is native to the tropical rain forests of Central and South America. For more than a thousand years, cocoa plants were cultivated throughout the forest, tucked under a lush canopy of shade.
While much cocoa is still grown in the traditional way, many growers have cleared the forests to cultivate the trees in open plantations, leading to a host of environmental problems:
Fewer Trees: Deforestation of traditional cocoa farms adds to the loss of tropical forests that is already occurring at an alarming rate in Central and South America and Africa.
Fewer Songbirds: Loss of forest habitat in this region is directly linked to a shrinking migratory songbird population worldwide.
More Pesticides: When trees are cleared, natural predators that keep insects in check are no longer present, so farmers turn to powerful pesticides that harm people and wildlife. These pesticides also decrease the number of tiny flies called midges, which are essential for pollination. Without these specialized insects, the world's supply of chocolate would be in jeopardy. And as rainforests are cleared, pollinators like the midge are in jeopardy.
It’s made from cocoa beans that are shade-grown, creating habitat for birds and contributing to a more diverse ecosystem for wildlife.
It supports fair trade practices, where workers harvesting the beans are paid fairly.
The cocoa is grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
Organic chocolate not only includes organic cocoa beans, but also organic raw sugar, organic milk and natural flavors.
Endangered Species Chocolate: Like the National Wildlife Federation, this Oregon-based company works to promote the plight of endangered species and ensure their survival for future generations.
Equal Exchange: Our new organic cocoa mix provides an immediate, positive way to respond to the recent reports of chronic poverty, exploited child labor and slavery on cocoa farms in West Africa—the origin of 70% of the world's cocoa.
Divine Chocolate: Divine Chocolate is unique because the Ghanaian cocoa farmers actually own a third of the company. Farmers receive Fair Trade premiums for their cocoa beans, which helps them improve their communities.
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