Loving Chocolate and Being Pro-life: Can the Two be Compatible?

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I just finished reading Rachel Held Evan’s book A Year of Biblical Womanhood. I could go on and on about what I loved about this book, and I will on my blog after my server is back up and running, and I stop acting like my 2-year-old because it has been down for 5 whole days (!!!), but I digress. There was one particular part of the book that really stuck out for me.

She did a bit of research and found that the majority of the world’s cocoa beans (Hershey’s, Nestlé, Mars) come from West Africa where there are terrible working conditions and child slavery. Over a quarter million children work on these cocoa farms. They get there by means of kidnapping, and once there, they are often abused. She came to an important conclusion, “The coffee-and-chocolate experiment forced me to confront an uncomfortable fact to which I suspect most Americans can relate: I had absolutely no idea where the majority of my food came from” (234).

Well. That was going to be problematic for me. I have back-up stashes of chocolate to eat when I polish off the back-up of my back-up stash. Mike knows to stop on his way from work if I am nearing the end. More often than not, I buy a bag of chocolate chips with the intention of baking, and I just eat the entire bag on its own instead. I sneak chocolate in other rooms so I don’t have to share with my kids. And now I am finding out that the small fortune I spend on my addiction is actually paying for something I am fundamentally, morally and emotionally opposed to with the same vigor with which I love the cacao tree? Shoot.

I had to make a change. With how much chocolate I eat, and how much I wax lyrical about being pro-life, the two just weren’t adding up anymore.

You see, being pro-life isn’t just about saving babies in the womb, it is also about desiring a certain quality of life for people already born. It is pro-LIFE, not pro-just babies. So, I made a pledge to myself to be more conscious of where my chocolate comes from (as well as look into other foods and goods I consume). Luckily, I live within walking distance from a fair trade shop that has a large and delicious selection. So far, Divine Milk Chocolate is my numero uno.

And, maybe it costs a bit more money, and that means I have to cut back. But, as it has been said, “when you know better, you do better.”

Copyright 2013 Jenna Hines 

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14 Comments

  1. Pingback: July at CatholicMom.com - call her happy

  2. I had NO idea. Honestly–none. I guess I will need to gather up all my back-up stashes (I’m just the same way you are) and consume them and then find a better source for future stashes. I like what you said about “desiring a certain quality of life for those already born.” So true.

  3. I know…yet I forget. We used to sell fair trade chocolates though diocesan campus ministry, but out of sight, out of mind. Thanks for the not-so-pleasant reminder, and tying together all the pieces of standing for the dignity of life. 🙂 I think this was the same brand we sold, too. Still delicious, just more expensive, which would probably curb my consumption. All in all not a bad thing I suppose. 😉

  4. Jenna, thank you so much for this wonderful piece! I work with Catholic Relief Services on our fair trade team, and it’s always wonderful to see folks learning about fair trade and talking about it with others. It’s especially exciting since CRS promotes Divine Chocolate through our fair trade partner, SERRV. Every time a Catholic purchases Divine from SERRV, you’re not only supporting fair trade and small farmers, but a donation also comes back to CRS to fund grants for other fair trade projects.

    I really believe that each of us is called to do our part as consumers to ensure that the economy works for everyone. Fair trade creates opportunities for us to respond to this call in a small but significant way every day through the choices we make as consumers. When we make the conscious choice to purchase fair trade items, we are putting our Catholic values into action. Chocolate is an easy (and delicious!) way to make this a reality – thank you so much for bringing fair trade and Divine to the CatholicMom community!

  5. A couple others to know about:

    -Equal Exchange will let you form a buying co-op with others in your parish or ministry, so anyone can order wholesale from them.

    -Fred’s Beans is CRS-affiliated, and a family near us as set up as a wholesaler with them (the family used to run a coffee shop). They place an order about once a month, and we get a break by purchasing the five-pound bag with that, rather than going in for a pound a week from the grocery store.

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