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The Sweet Side of Chocolate: Fair Trade Festival Altrocioccolato

In the heart of Città di Castello, a small city located in northern Umbria, a variety of vendors gathered for Altrocioccolato to celebrate a culinary favorite: chocolate!

Amidst this diverse crowd of educators, patrons, and organizations, a group of four Umbra students got their hands deliciously dirty by volunteering at the festival.

Altrocioccolato is an annual festival that brings together Italian-based and international fair trade organizations, specializing in the education, promotion, and sale of fair trade chocolate. This year the festival ran from October 18th-October 20th. However, Altrocioccolato goes beyond just chocolate; vendors of various fair-trade products set up booths and informational sessions, entertainers staged live music and performances, and local vendors sold hand-crafted goods.

The students spent Friday assisting staff of the fair-trade store Altromercato at their stall. They kept stock, helped customers, handed out samples, and talked to the other vendors about their fair trade products and efforts. The students volunteered as part of the 

Students Mark Koussa, Jr., Sathvika Reddy, Ariel Stern, and Daniel Smith, with coordinator Prof. Giordana Pulcini and Altromercato coordinator Milena
Students Mark Koussa, Jr.(left), Sathvika Reddy (second from left), Ariel Stern (second from right), and Daniel Smith (right), with Prof. Giordana Pulcini and Milena, the Monimbò store manager, at Altrocioccolato

INIT 350: Fair Trade Academic Internship & Seminar- Fair Trade, headed by Professor Giordana Pulcini. They prepared for volunteering by assisting with store operations and customer service in the fair trade store Monimbò. Afterward, they helped the festival coordinator prepare Altrocioccolato marketing materials in English in order to expand the outreach of the festival.

The internship with Monimbò and Altrocioccolato is designed to give students hands on experience in the world of fair trade. Prof. Pulcini explained that “It’s not really possible to understand what fair trade is without having a first-hand experience and without meeting people who are involved in fair trade projects and activities.” After a long, rewarding day, the students returned to Perugia with a better understanding of fair trade and the faces behind it, leaving a sweet taste in their mouths. 

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