Tabal Chocolate sells chocolate and cacao products and just as important as those products is the intention we have in making those products. I was having a conversation with someone yesterday who asked "what are we all about, what is our story". You could also call this the vision of our company. We have broken our vision/intention into at-least four parts.
SUPPORTING FARMER EDUCATION
Since the beginning of Tabal in 2012 we have built relationships with cacao farmers world wide. One of the things we noticed was a need for farmers to become more educated in the skills of planting, pruning, harvesting, post harvesting, fermentation and drying.
We do not pretend to be experts in these skills but our role is to be a conduit to those skills and knowledge. What we do is connect farmers with other farmers and academics who have those skills and can train each other in excellent agricultural practices. If farmers can raise the quality of the cacao, they will be able to sell the same cacao at a higher price as a fine flavor chocolate.
REBUILDING THE ENVIRONMENT
When Tabal and other bean to bar chocolate makers purchase cacao from small scale farmers it provides an income that they can use to support their families and also to sustain and expand their operation by planting more cacao trees.
Most of the farmers that we work with live in the most biodiverse regions of the world. When chocolate makers establish long term relationships with cacao farmers they are able to have the confidence that the labors of their hard work will be purchased. This gives them the confidence to plant more cacao trees and convert land that was used for destructive agricultural practices into cacao trees.
Tabal supports these efforts by donating funds to cacao farmers in the regions where we purchase cacao. To date, these funds have facilitated the planting of thousands of cacao trees. Tabal supports and funds the Regenerative Criollo Yariguies Cacao Project in Colombia which focuses on the planting of criollo trees which is one of the rarest cacao trees in the world.
For more information on reforestation efforts please watch the excellent video below from To'ak Chocolate who are doing remarkable work in Ecuador.
(please note that the Jerry Maguire video contains adult language)
Tabal Chocolate was founded on principals of social justice and gender equity. We work hard to make sure that we are respecting all those with whom we work. One way to respect their hard work is to pay an above market rate for the cacao we purchase. This not only incentivizes them to produce higher quality cacao, which commands a higher price, but it provides income to sustain their families and community.
We actively seek out farms that are managed and or supported by women. We support gender equity in cacao farming. We support this by purchasing cacao from farms or COOP's where the revenue generated goes to women. One of the non profits that we source cacao from is UNCOMMON CACAO which visits farms at origin to confirm the involvement of women.
We have serious concerns about the practices of large corporations which source cacao that has been produced with the use of child and forced/slave labor. These practices continue to thrive in spite of the attention that the craft chocolate community has shed on these practices.
The article below from The Chocolate Life, is a great source of companies and information about the arguments made to defend slavery.
5 Ways People Defend Slavery in Cocoa (from The Chocolate Life)
DEVELOPING CHOCOLATE PRODUCTION AT ORIGIN
One of the dreams that we have here at Tabal is to develop a chocolate making operation at origin in partnership with the farmers that grow the cacao. We are in the process of doing field research to identify a location, source machinery, and build partnerships.
Below are several videos that help explain the importance of helping the people at origin produce products at origin. The main reason for this initiative is to support farmers in getting a larger share of the revenue generated form their cacao farming.
Beautiful story and video (In SPANISH)
Positive Impact of Couverture Made at Origin (FCIA-Fine Chocolate Industry Assoc.)
EVER WONDER: What Dutch Processed means?