Green Your Halloween

| 10/17/2011 1:24:25 PM

Tags: Halloween, Chocolate, Cocoa, Cocoa Farmers, Sustainability, Rainforest Alliance, Anna Clark, Rainforest Alliance,

With Halloween fast approaching, it’s time to prepare for the inevitable rush of trick-or-treaters by stocking up on chocolate, adding devilish decorations to your home and choosing a creepy costume. But before buying any Halloween candy, take a minute to think about where chocolate comes from, and at what cost to the environment and farming communities across the globe.  

Cocoa is native to South America, but is now grown predominantly in West Africa, Southeast Asia, Brazil and Ecuador. Like coffee, cocoa can thrive under the shade of the forest canopy, where is supports biodiversity by providing habitat for threatened plant and animal species, protecting natural pollinators and creating biological corridors.   

  Cocoa Farmer 

Photo: Rainforest Alliance

Unfortunately, many cocoa farmers live in poverty and clear cut the forests to grow cocoa more intensively under the sun. While this initially increases yields, it’s far from sustainable and has a devastating effect on the environment, resulting in loss of wildlife habitat, soil erosion and decreased soil fertility. In addition, sun-grown cocoa requires heavy use of agrochemicals. 

The Rainforest Alliance is working in the West African countries of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana -- the world's largest cocoa producing nations -- to transform the way small farmers manage their land, and in turn, the kind of cocoa that winds up in your favorite Halloween candy. The Rainforest Alliance also trains cocoa farmers in Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil and Peru to grow their crops in a way that maximizes yields and environmental benefits while promoting the rights of workers and their families. This ensures that poor farmers can earn a decent living from their land while protecting their environment.  

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