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By Laurence Tremblay  -  

Why encourage hand-peeled cacao projects

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Do you take the time to stop before consuming a product and consider the process that brought it to your hands? Every product, in its essence, comes from nature. So, what happened between nature and you? Processing.

The 18th century dawned the Industrial Revolution. Technology advanced exponentially and humanity transitioned from handwork towards machine work. It is also only in the 19th century that modern chocolate as we know it today was born due to innovations in machinery and processing.

When working with nature, exploitation will destabilize its cycle, as it means taking too much before giving back. This acceleration in taking from nature is a result of the development of new technology. Don’t get me wrong– technology is a great advancement for humankind but, unfortunately, the development of technology taking from nature hasn’t been balanced with technologies that advance giving back.

Closing the cycles of nature is an essential key to balance our relationship with the environment. Until we learn to give back as much as we are currently taking, it’s a good idea to slow down– to slow down as both consumers and producers. A way to slow down as producers is to take a step back and come back to the simplicity of human-made products. This way, natural production won’t exceed a speed that can’t be integrated.

Imagine supporting a cacao process in which each cacao seed is hand peeled. It means that mass production becomes impossible (unless the whole world starts to hand-peel cacao of course!). Through hand-peeling each seed, we understand and feel all the energy put into the process of the final product of cacao. This way, we understand what community means when everyone comes together and has a different role to create something delicious for the world to enjoy. We may value it for its real worth– for the treasure that it is.

Another perspective of why hand-peeled cacao is to be valued is for the lost understanding of creative ideas. Ideas, projects, or even businesses are originally nature’s expression to unite people to work towards a common goal. There is no end goal to it. It is a way of life for everyone to contribute to. The central goal or vision becomes a path for a community to share and enjoy the journey together. As an entrepreneur– an idea generator– the main goal should be to create an idea that can integrate as many people, and value each of these people, as much as possible.

Let’s take a journey through the many hands and roles that take a product, such as ceremonial cacao, from nature to purpose.

By valuing the ones who are in direct contact with nature, you honor the ears of nature. Farmers are in direct contact with the Earth– tending, nourishing, and harvesting– ideally balancing what is given and taken. By valuing the farmers, you hold space for them to be attentive to nature and respect it. If they are not respected, how can they respect nature? Their actions taken are a reflection of the action they’ve been gifted.

By valuing those who create the product– the ones who receive the fruits of nature and transform them into an offering– that product has value. The careful work of hands is an expression of humanity. In this case of ceremonial cacao, these are the women’s collectives who attentively toast, hand-peel, and grind each seed. By valuing them optimally, their creative process has honor and beauty which results in healthy products to pass on.

By valuing the ones who share the products– the voices, marketers, distributors– we allow space to broaden the horizons of possibility by introducing something new. When valuing the ones who share the product, you give the space to desire, choose, and share what is good for the world before what is good for them, as they are well taken care of. They can shine their gifts for the benefit of all.

By valuing the ones who receive– the consumers– you offer them only what is good for them. You want to bring positivity, health, and happiness to their life in a sustainable way. Not the 5-minute happiness of a processed burger that will result in an unhealthy diet, an addiction to junk food, and an unconscious collaboration in the exploitation of people and nature. You want your offering to honor their being as they are valued, heard and seen. They are well taken care of.

This is the role of an idea generator: you want to create a system that optimally integrates as many people involved and that you may value each one of them so they may express the best version of their role.

In the case of the chocolate or cacao industry, very few projects are still engaging each of these roles to the degree that its expression is balanced. When speaking about hand-peeled cacao, it allows us to engage with more people– to integrate more people into the mission of sharing and honoring cacao. It slows down the process of production so we may have the space to give back and value everyone. It spreads the abundance created by cacao to everyone who is involved in the mission. Very few cacao projects are still integrating the role of processing cacao into human hands as it is not aligned with today’s capitalist system. But as consumers, we may choose products that respect us, that genuinely want the best for us, and that enhance our lives for the better.

Hand-peel cacao is only one part of sustainable product development that creates jobs, community, unites cultures, and respects the medicine of cacao. Of course, in order to do so, fair wages and respectful collaboration are a must. It is a way to reject the capitalist system and give back to the people that the medicine is from. It is one part of the process that we wish to bring attention to as it is the easiest one to skip and replace with machinery. This, of course, would increase profit, and decrease human collaboration. Hand-peeling is the step that reflects the integrity and ethics of a cacao business in service to cacao and the land.

© Copyright Cacao Source2022

Site built and maintained by Lowthian Design Works

© Copyright Cacao Source2022

Site built and maintained by Lowthian Design Works