You know I'm a fan of planting trees since I partnered with MokuGift to plant a tree for each attendee at the Green Software Unconference I co-founded. Here's another opportunity where YOU can plant a tree and enjoy some delicious chocolate. Original Beans' Cru Virunga is the first-ever single-source chocolate from the heart of Africa: the Congo. It's 70% cocoa, and the Ingredients are directly-traded cacao beans, sugar, and cacao butte.For every Original Beans bar you purchase, Original Beans will plant a tree in the region of the bean's origin to replenish and protect the areas where the cacao beans thrive. Each bar comes with a Tracking Number, and you can enter that Number on the Original Beans website to track the conservation efforts at your bar's forest of origin. Original Beans allies directly with the farmers to create positive change and preserve our precious natural environment. Their 20-step chocolate making process - from tree planting to final bar - allows them to reveal the beans finest flavors.
I asked Phillip Kauffmann, the co-founder of Original Beans, some additional questions about the Congo project. Per Phillip:
"We started a public-private partnership to organize a substantial reforestation effort and build a sustainable cocoa sector among ten thousand farmers, mainly around the Northern end of Virunga National Park. The Gorilla habitat is in the South of Virunga. It is threatened by migration and charcoal trade out of the park and by developing a sustainable smallholder cocoa industry, coupled with explicit replanting work, we expect to slow these trends. We also expect to play a crucial role in supporting th post-war development of this society. Already, we can see that farmers are returning to their land, which they fled from into the cities during the war.....To date, more than 1 million trees have been planted, cocoa and shade/wood trees. We are also integrating forest conservation criteria into the internal control system of our organic certification, and we will, this year for the first time in the cocoa world, measure the net positive climate contribution of sustainable small farming to demonstrate that smallholders need not be among the worst carbon polluters in the world (through slash and burn practices)."
"If you're attending the March 20 San Francisco Chocolate Festival, you will be able to try Original Beans Chocolate in person: Drexelius Chocolates will be hosting Original Beans at Booth 33.
Here's an added Bonus: You can use promo code to receive 20% off your product purchase at http://drexeliuschocolates.com