Contemplating Chocolate

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Throughout our time in class, we have participated in numerous contemplative practices, enveloping the themes of industrialized food, living systems and interdependence, hunger, and more. However, the one that stood out to me the most was the practice involving the chocolate, and the lesson surrounding international trade and global inequities. What intrigued me the most about this contemplative practice was the realization that many of the people who work with cacao never see or get to taste the end product. Although they are the ones working to extract the cacao, once the processing begins towards making it into chocolate, they have no idea what happens or where it goes. I found this very interesting, because chocolate is something that is so common and loved in places like the United States, yet the very people who begin the process of making cacao into chocolate don’t even know what it tastes like. In terms of the lesson, I thought the contemplative practice was very effective in enhancing the learning process surrounding the topic of international trade and global inequities. By allowing us to experience the original taste of cacao and then comparing it to the final product if chocolate, it lets us really see the difference between the two, and what goes into the final product. By comparing the two products and seeing what goes into the harvesting of the cacao and then the process of turning it into chocolate, we are able to gain insight into the production, and what happens all over the world in order to arrive at the end commodity. Because chocolate is something that we get to experience all the time, I think it is important to get insight into the world of cacao and what goes into what we eat.

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