Fair Trade Intern and Umbra student Ashley Webb recently wrote an article about some of the initiatives she and her classmates participated in this semester. Below are her words that give more insight into their activities from a student perspective:
Throughout this fall semester, three Umbra students have developed their understanding, through a fair trade internship, of the three strongest tastes of chocolate: the fair, the dark and the sweet. These interns (Ashley Webb, Ella Paul and Naimah Duporte) arranged a formal chocolate taste testing event for the Umbra community and used the event as an opportunity to educate attendees in regard to what their studies and research had taught them.
The event began with a brief aperitivo as guests arrived. After enjoying a jovial reunion, the Umbra community was invited into a lavish theater to view Mistrati’s film “The Dark Side of Chocolate”. Mistrati’s film painted a very vivid picture for the community, leaving many students in surprised silence. Mistrati’s trek through Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast revealed a chocolate reality of which not many consumers were aware.
Following the film, the interns invited the community to participate in an open discussion. Guests commented on the effects of the film on the chocolate industry and a great deal of time was spent discussing the issue of awareness. Many guests recognized the importance of Mistrati’s idea of sharing the darker sides of the chocolate trade because through knowledge comes power; by developing international awareness, consumers can demand that producers follow specific regulations exemplified by Fair Trade and initiate the betterment of living situations in the southern hemisphere.
The evening was not simply spent discussing serious matters; in fact, the event ended with the sweeter side of chocolate; with laughter and contentment. Umbra’s interns presented their guests with an extravagant chocolate taste-testing; through which the interns used various techniques to guide their guests through a taste-testing that used all five senses. The chocolate used in the presentation was certified Mascao fair trade, organic chocolate, giving guests a chance to taste that which is both fair and sweet.
For those interested in chocolate and the subject of Fair Trade, Ashley, Ella and Naimah would like to invite you to view “The Dark Side of Chocolate” and Mistrati’s follow-up film: “Shady Chocolate”. Both films can easily be found on YouTube but viewers should be warned that the reality shown in the films is not as sweet as the chocolate it produces.