Sweet: ethical chocolate from Rowntree to Divine

I’m watching a documentary about poverty in York in 1910, following the research and groundbreaking work of Sebohm Rowntree. The Edwardian philanthropist, son of Joseph, invested in improving the living conditions of the chocolate factory workers.

It reminds me of a chocolate workshop I attended when my girls were babes in arms, run by Divine, one of the Fairtrade chocolate brands. The Divine chocolatier explained how in many plantations, children work fertilizing the cocoa plants. How awfully ironic.

In 2005 Marco and I honeymooned in Central America. I remembered learning about the questionable activities of major fruit companies in Latin America. I wrote a cartoon called El Banana Belico. I only buy Fairtrade bananas, and am aware that pineapples have their own issues.

Tate Modern. Tate and Lyle sugar. Slavery.

Spices, luxury goods, drivers of colonial expansion, wars on land and water.

How strange, how sad that our sweet nothings transform the world, with terrible consequences for many people.

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