Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place

All I Wanted to Do was Write a Post About Chocolate


When I was thinking about what to write for the letter C, I thought of chocolate — that amazing bittersweet food-of-the-gods that I go to when I need a serotonin rush.

Since I didn’t know where to start in writing about my drug of choice, I started trolling the internet for ideas in narrowing down the topic.

What I discovered quite disturbed me though:  chocolate is often grown, harvested, and processed by child slave labor.   In my little snowflake-lined First-World bubble, I had no idea.   I spent quite a bit of time yesterday researching brands of chocolate that are “fair-trade”.   I could not find any brands that would be accessible in my local market that I could say for certain that their ingredients were not sourced by way of slave labor.

Then I got to thinking about my coffee.  Where does that come from and who picks it?  And then I thought about the fruits and vegetables I eat that are grown right here in my state.   I did a quick google.  Did you know that according to the National Farm Workers Ministry that the average farm laborer makes between $10,000 and $12,500 a year?  This is right about the US Federal poverty line!  Even more concerning is that families make between $15,000 and $17,500 a year working in the fields.  Families?  I can only assume when they say “families” that means mothers and children are picking in the fields for wages even lower than that of the individual laborer.    People are living as slaves or like slaves so that I can eat well?   This blows my mind.

What can I do about this?  Give up the chocolate and coffee?  Those are luxuries, after all.  But what about other farm products?    This would lead then into a larger discussion of immigration and migrant workers’ rights.   My head is swirling.

What I do know is this:   It is written that when a rich young ruler came to Jesus asking what he needed to do to be saved, Jesus told him to go and sell everything he owned and give the money to the poor.  The young man could not do that.   Jesus then told his disciples:  “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”  Matthew 19: 23-24.

In other words, I have been confronted with the ethical and moral demands of living in a world with so much poverty.

I need to do something — otherwise, I am so screwed.






15 thoughts on “All I Wanted to Do was Write a Post About Chocolate

  1. Caring about what others are going through is an admirable quality, but disliking yourself for what you have is not good either. You have worked for what you have, and that is worth being proud of. You acknowledging that there are others that need help is a step toward helping the change. Personally, I don’t know how to help those other people, but I do know that being knowledgeable and seeking knowledge, voting in elections, donating blood and other items, and buying products that are made with humans and animals being treated right is the best I can do for now. Maybe your local church or VFW has ways you can help?

  2. i don’t “dislike” myself. LOL. But thanks for commenting.

  3. I didn’t know that about chocolate, but it kind of makes sense. Maybe buying from small local farms reduces the chances of contributing to the problem? I don’t know, it just seems like with the smaller farms they do most of the work themselves.

  4. Coffee and Chocolate…definitely my drugs of choice. After living in the highlands of Ecuador for two years, I am acutely aware of the labor involved. No easy answers….

    DB McNicol, author & traveler
    Theme: Oh, the places we will go!

  5. I try really, really hard to buy local fruits and vegetables. Chocolate and coffee not so much. Thanks for the reminder! — Sharing this one.

  6. It is a difficult dilemma. I grew up in a farming community and we had migrant workers that came through the area during planting and harvest seasons. The simple answer seems to be to grow our own food, but then what would these migrant workers do for money. Even a meager wage is better than nothing. I think instead fighting for a fair wage and worker rights is the more productive route. But would this mean an increase in food costs? And if we had higher food costs, would a higher wage net an actual increase?

    Hard questions with no easy solution. I think starting the conversation is a great first step in finding a solution.

    Donna from Girl Who Reads

    • I thought about that too. I was thinking specifically about the child who works in a factory in, let’s say Bangladesh, making clothing. That child’s wage, though small, may be what keeps a family from starvation. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. With the internet now, you should be able to find fair trade chocolate and order it online. It may cost a little more, but I know at one point coffee was the same and there was a big push to change that so maybe that can happen for chocolate too.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

  8. It is a dilemma indeed. In fact, i blogged about this years ago, do i spend more when i am on a very tight budget to make sure that i’m only buying fair trade products, or do i just feed my family as best i can?

    We can’t shy away from asking these questions, though i do want to sometimes.

  9. Unexpectedly heavy thoughts about chocolate.
    There are no easy answers.


  10. an eye opener of an article. thank you for sharing.

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