Two San Luis Obispo Fair Trade Businesses Team Up to Spread Valentine's Day Love Around the World

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This Valentine's Day, two San Luis Obispo-based companies are offering a sweet and spicy treat - the new SLO Chai Chocolate. SLO Chai and Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates, Inc. are marketing a blend of Sweet Earth's award-winning 65% bittersweet Fair Trade chocolate and SLO Chai's incomparably warm and spicy chai mix that not only tastes delicious but is helping to support cocoa farmers in West Africa.

Chai Chocolate

Americans will spend more than $600 million on Valentine's Day chocolate this season, but only a tiny fraction of this money will reach the farmers who grow cocoa. In fact, most chocolate in the United States is purchased from cocoa farmers at a market price that is far below a living wage. For example, in Côte d'Ivoire - the country where 75% of American chocolate comes from - cocoa farmers received only 11 cents per pound of dried beans in 2006. More than 200,000 children of cocoa farmers have never attended school; many instead work as laborers on these farms. Cocoa-growing communities frequently face widespread poverty despite producing a commodity that yields annual sales of $13 billion. Given this picture, most Valentine's Day chocolates are hardly sending a message of love.

It's with this in mind that SLO Chai and Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates have joined together this Valentine's Day. SLO Chai Chocolate offers a way for consumers to support cocoa farmers and change the cocoa industry. SLO Chai Chocolate is 100% Fair Trade Certified, which means that the farmers receive fair prices for their labor and participate in democratically-organized cooperatives that ban child labor, promote gender equality, and practice environmentally-sound farming and processing. All of the ingredients in SLO Chai Chocolate are also Certified Organic, ensuring that no harmful pesticides were used in their production.

And, this spicy treat goes one step further: between now and Valentine's Day, one dollar from the sale of each bag (retailing at $5.99) will be donated to the non-profit Project Hope and Fairness to help pay for farming equipment for 10 cocoa-farming villages in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, and raise awareness about labor issues in the cocoa industry.

Valentines everywhere are sure to love this spice-infused sweet. Fair trade chocolate paired with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, star anise, and other Indian spices make a truly heartwarming combination.

Both SLO Chai and Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates are three years old, based in San Luis Obispo, California, and share a deep commitment to fair trade. To purchase SLO Chai Chocolate and other fair trade Valentine's Day gifts, please visit them online. To learn more about the cocoa industry and steps you can take, visit the Project Hope and Fairness website.


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Joel Pace
SLO Chai
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Tom Neuhaus
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