Since I was a kid I have been working on farms and to me it is probably one of the most beautiful, but also one of the most hardworking and least appreciated jobs out there.
I am thankful my parents gave me access to healthy food choices and instead of putting me in front of a TV taught me how to use my hands and harvest my own lunch.
That being said it feels natural to visit the local farm throughout my journey and at some point it has connected me with the amazing cacao plant. Besides eating more than I should have, I learnt a lot while working on some of the farms through South America - a beautiful, but long lasting process from harvesting the fruit to fermenting and drying it. Often farms lie deep in the jungle and have no access to roads. This means everything has to be done by hand and me and the farmers carried the fruits for hours through the mountains and rivers in heat or rain. Nevertheless we shared smiles and stories during this tough job and not well paid considering the $2 for 1 kg of dried cacao. These ladies work for a company that received the Fair Trade Certificate http://fairtradeusa.org/…/acopagro-cooperativa-agraria-caca… more than 10 years ago and I have been living in the town where they are located and cannot see any effort being made using the funds for any of the stated projects such as roads, education or medicine. While talking to farmers I could tell their desperation, but they are not given any other choice to sell their fruit to nor obtain more rights.
Nevertheless we often forget about how much work there is behind certain products that are nice and clean lined up on our supermarket shelves and are often not willing to pay the deserved price because there is always a cheap option. And in case we are willing to do so we are blinded by words and labels. Think about it when you make your food choices and if you do not buy locally, question where your spend your money on.