Fourth0-grade monsters visit Theo chocolate factory
In preparation for the holidays, the Fourth Grade Monsters indulged in a trip to the chocolate factory. Of course, they were able to further their knowledge of sustainable product production and Fair Trade practices, but the unlimited samples of chocolate bars and cocoa treats left their hearts happy and their energy...fed!
They embarked on their trip to Theo Chocolate Factory (Fremont, Seattle) with strong studies of ethically responsible product production. Theo Chocolate has been granted a "Fair Trade" certificate of practice, and the 4th Graders can tell you exactly what that means. They know that Fair Trade means that the company pays workers and farmers in developing countries fairly for their work to promote economic growth; in this case cocoa farmers from the Democratic Republic of Congo, coconut farmers from the Philippines, and cane sugar farmers from Brazil. The 4th graders have been discussing how Fair Trade means that work hours are reasonable, only adults are working, conditions are safe, and that the company looks to support the growth of education and health of the workers.
The 4th graders can also tell you about environmental sustainability in product production. They asked Theo Chocolate how the company contributes to the health of our planet, pointing out their knowledge of habitat sustainability and reducing carbon footprints. They learned that Theo chocolate sources products that are locally grown in their relative region, letting people and animals thrive around these areas naturally. They also found out that Theo Chocolate lets their cocoa beans dry naturally for three weeks, rather than use machines that emit carbon.
Even with all the knowledge shared and poignant questions asked, the 4th graders did manage to sample handfuls of chocolate from 85% dark, to truffles, to caramels. They got to watch the machines mix in milk and sugar to sweeten the cocoa. They got to see a real theobroma cocoa tree that grows the cocoa bean pods, measuring bigger than a football! The bean to bar process is complex--so much thought and labor goes into just one bar of chocolate! Luckily, the 4th graders know that it's possible to produce products that care for healthy animals, a clean earth earth, and happy citizens. They also admit that this chocolate makes them pretty happy as well!
--Haley, Marco, and the Monsters Class