Supporting democratically organized small-scale farmers is at the heart of everything we do here at La Siembra Co-operative. All of the Camino chocolates and ingredients we sell are certified fair trade and certified organic. We have supported many farmer cooperatives continuously for over 15 years, and those have logged incredible achievements for their communities and their co-operatives.
We have two main environmental initiatives. A decade ago, we changed all the wrappers on our Camino chocolate bars to compostable wood fiber wrappers. That’s right – what looks like foil is actually a fully compostable non-toxic wood fiber based material that you can add right into your garden.
Most municipal composting programs do not accept the wrapper, but your tomato plants will! What I like to do is this four step process:
- Eat the Camino chocolate bar. (Disclosure – this is my favorite part.)
- Flatten the silver wrapper on the kitchen counter.
- Empty today’s used Camino coffee grounds onto the flattened wrapper.
- Carry the stack into the flowerbed or garden and set it down.
The coffee grounds help hold the wrapper onto the soil and the moisture helps start the composting process. For other ideas and a splendid look back at what youtube videos used to be, check out:
Another initiative we took is to support our farmer partners in reforestation programs they conduct in their own regions. For over a decade, the farmers who grow the cane and produce Camino brown sugar and coffee have managed such a program.
As co-op manager José Fernando Reyes explained, “at Norandino, we have our own reforestation project for the certification of recovered forests and a certification for the carbon credits that we developed with our coffee customers to offset their emissions. Through this project, we have reforested more than 250 hectares with native trees as well as some varieties that are useful for timber.” La Siembra Co-operative purchased 35 tons of carbon credits from our farmer partners in 2016 to offset the carbon generated annually from our air travel.
This year, we hope to expand that program through participation in a similar program with the cocoa farming co-operative Agropagro, which we recently visited. Click here to read more.
See a profile of that amazing project here.