What’s the latest with Cocoa Honors:
by Shawn Askinosie
I have been meeting with the students weekly since Fall 2009. We have tasted and talked about chocolate almost every week. The idea is for these students to help us select our next origin in Africa. After much research, discussion and debate we have settled on either Tanzania or Liberia. We made contacts in several countries. We have talked to farmers. We have spent a lot of time on logistics of bean travel from there to here. The bulk of our time has been in teaching the students how I evaluate beans, sample of chocolate, and the overall possibilities of various origins. We have raised money to take the students and teachers with us to Africa this August – 2010.
The farmer group we are buying from is led by a woman; a single mom with six kids. This is the first time a farmer group has bypassed the middleman and contracted directly with a chocolate maker. And we are paying the highest price per ton that any cocoa farmer has received.
Most importantly – this is not just a “trip” to Africa it is also a community service project. We have raised enough money to cover the expense of drilling a deep water well in the village where we will be buying beans. There will be clean drinking water for 2,000 or more residents of the village.
What is Cocoa Honors:
Cocoa Honors is a neighborhood outreach of Askinosie Chocolate, consisting of a select group of students from Central High School in Springfield, Missouri USA.With the guidance of Drury University students, we seek to understand the cocoa industry within the context of the history, culture, and economy of Africa.
Assist Askinosie Chocolate in finding an African source for cocoa beans
Travel to Africa to establish long-term partnerships with cocoa farmers
With Askinosie Chocolate, create a single-origin chocolate that can be traced from the farm to the bar