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Visiting the lush rainforests of Colombia
In July, our colleague Julia went to Colombia to visit our partner, the women’s cooperative CooAgroNevada. It is always special to visit the farmers and cooperatives we work with. A friendly reminder of what a biodiverse rainforest looks like, how well-paid farmers like what they’re doing, and how tangible our impact really is. We would like to share some highlights with you.
Did you know?
• The cooperative started in 2007 with 4 acres of land in the area of Sierra Nevada where coffee and cocoa are grown
• One acre of land provides around 800-1000 million kg of beans
• The cooperative currently works with 50 farms of which 16 grow cocoa
• The cocoa is growing 800m above sea level (1000m is the maximum altitude at which cocoa plants can flourish)
• The pods are harvested twice every year in the months of May, June, July, and then again in November & December
• The cocoa beans in the pulp need to get to a temperature of 30 degrees Celsius on the first day of fermentation, and after that to sometimes even 50 degrees. Thanks to the temperature in the city and working with wooden boxes this is achievable. The first step of the fermentation process takes 48 hours before the beans are moved to a so-called ‘fresh’ box where they remain for 24 hours. This cycle repeats for 7 days.
• In other parts of the area the crops are grown non-organic, with pesticides and insecticides depleting soil and biodiversity. That causes all sorts of animals to relocate towards the CooAgroNevada area to live where no harmful pesticides are used at all. Resulting in a paradise of flourishing biodiversity.
• Additional beehives have been placed throughout the area to increase biodiversity. The delicious honey is sold locally.
• Some things here are hard to describe or catch in a photograph. But the most extraordinary fact here is the land itself. The cocoa grows under the canopy of tall, old trees. This way of cocoa farming is called a shadow-plant system. The best and most natural method to restore biodiversity and protect the rainforests as well as the yield.
• The finished product -chocolate- is mostly eaten in countries where cocoa plants don’t grow. This means that most of the world’s cocoa farmers never actually get to taste chocolate. Unlike the team of CooAgroNevada. They have been making chocolate traditionally at home for years!
• CooAgroNevada chose to grow organically for two reasons:
=> This way of farming educates people on how to work with the land, help it restore, and keep it in its “original state”
=> Chemical fertilizers are very expensive in Colombia
Chocolatemakers is the sole buyer of the beans from CooAgroNevada. Our Pure Love bar is the world’s only bar made with their beans!