Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are a mother/daughter team who pulled their knowledge of all things green to write the book Celebrate Green. Their “passion is to help people green up their celebrations.” I spoke with them about how to green up Valentine’s Day, and they gave me an education on choosing chocolates that not only let your loved ones know you care not only about them but about the earth, too.
Lynn and Corey believe that buying eco-friendly chocolate for Valentine’s Day and other occasions is important for the earth and for the people enjoying the chocolate. They recommend finding a chocolate that is what they refer to as “triple certified.” The chocolate should be certified organic, fair trade, and some version of “bird friendly.”
Why triple certified?
Conventional cocoa crops are heavily sprayed with harmful pesticides which impact cocoa, the soil, the water supplies and the farmers who grow it. Buy purchasing chocolate that is organic, Lynn and Corey say you will help the earth, the people who grow the beans, and those who eat the chocolate.
They also recommend chocolate that is fair trade certified to avoid supporting chocolate’s “dirty little secret.” There are often unethical practices associated with the growing of cocoa such as forced child labor, unfair pay and poor working conditions.
The third certification that they recommend is some sort of “bird friendly” certification. Cocoa pods are best grown in the shade, but to speed up the growth of the cocoa and to increase the yield, plantations are often clear-cut, and the natural habitat is destroyed. This displaces the birds that live in the trees and in some cases can drive them to extinction. For more information on “bird friendly” certification, visit the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.
What they recommend
Lynn and Corey say the triple certification is the ideal, but finding the bird friendly certification can be difficult. They suggest:
Sjaaks Organic Chocolates. Sjaaks is moving into bird friendly certification. Lynn and Corey love their chocolates because they come in all shapes and sizes for various holidays. Their Nuts and Chews Chocolate Assortment for $9.95. (Feel free to pass that information along to my husband.)
They also think that this is a good chocolate to buy children for Valentine’s Day. They suggest buying just a handful of the Individual Organic Fair Trade Solid Milk Chocolate Heart chocolates ($.65/each) for each child and making the tasting of the chocolate an experience. Have children close their eyes while eating the chocolate and have them describe what they taste and sense.
Theo Chocolate. This is the chocolate they suggest for adults. They offer traditional dark and milk chocolates along with flavors like Sunflower Banana Butter and Ginger Green Tea.