Green Your Halloween

Reader Contribution by Anna Clark and Rainforest Alliance
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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.   

 

 
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.  

Well-managed
cocoa farms can earn the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal of approval by
meeting the comprehensive criteria set by the Sustainable Agriculture Network. This
seal is a guarantee that farmers are protecting the environment and the rights
and welfare of workers. 


 
Photo: J Henry Fair

You can support farmers and farm workers worldwide who are
working to improve their livelihoods and those of their families while
protecting the planet. This
Halloween stock up on chocolate treats that feature the Rainforest Alliance’s green
frog seal. Want more tips for how you can enjoy a spooky and sustainable holiday? Check out the Rainforest Alliance’s five
tips for a green Halloween:  

  1. Choose
    Rainforest Alliance Certified™ chocolate
    for Halloween treats. To help support healthy farmlands, forests and wildlife
    habitat — as well as the well-being of farm workers and their communities —
    look for chocolate that features the Rainforest Alliance Certified green frog
    seal! Find certified chocolate here.  
  2. Make
    demonic decorations from Rainforest Alliance/Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
    certified paper and cardboard. FSC certified wood products come from
    well-managed forests that protect wildlife habitat as well as the rights and
    well-being of forest workers. You can find FSC certified products at Staples,
    Office
    Depot and Home Depot. Find a fulllist of FSC products here
  3. Teach
    your kids where their favorite chocolate treats come from and how they impact
    people, wildlife and the planet. Visit the Rainforest Alliance’s Kids’ Corner! Play the
    online game Trackit Back to learn where the cocoa in chocolate is grown and how it is
    harvested! Also visit our virtual rainforest, “Living in the Chocó
    Forests of Ecuador: The Chachi Cocoa Farmers.”
    (Brush up on your own
    knowledge about cocoa farming
    here.) 
  4. Ensure
    your little trick-or-treaters collect candy using reusable bags. Even better, use Rainforest
    Alliance reusable bags — your gift with a $50 donation — and they can promote our conservation work at
    every house they haunt! 
  5. Make terrifyingly tasty treats with
    Rainforest Alliance Certified chocolate, bananas and coffee. Check out our list
    of “Haunted Halloween Recipes” and find out where you can find ingredients from certified farms.