Monday, November 15, 2010

Focus on Chocolate, Part Four: Party Time!

So maybe you've been inspired, either by something you've read here, or something you've learned about elsewhere, to become part of the solution when it comes to the chocolate industry and its ties to child slavery and worker exploitation; if so, good for you!

Maybe you've already taken the all-important first step of eliminating the worst offenders from your grocery list and replacing them with fair trade alternatives. Hooray! Another excellent move.

But what if you're really motivated by this subject and want to go even further?

You can certainly contact chocolate companies to let them know your thoughts on the subject (just use the handy 'contact' links here), and Global Exchange has some other avenues you might consider exploring regarding fair trade chocolate advocacy.

Today, however, I'd like to talk about a way you can spread the word to family and friends about the human rights abuses that run rampant in the cocoa industry, while still having a good time. After all, we tireless activist types need some fun every once in a while, right?

Hosting a fair trade chocolate party is fun and easy - here are some suggestions to get you started.
  • Send invitations to your guests two to three weeks in advance (I like to use Evite); be sure to include all the pertinent details - where and when, but most importantly, let them know that this is a celebration of chocolate, with many tasty reasons to attend. If space allows, you may consider encouraging guests to bring a friend in order to reach the widest audience possible.
  • Decide on your menu; besides chocolate bars (broken into small pieces for tasting), other possibilities could include hot cocoa, coffee or tea (also fair trade of course), brownies, chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, or if you're really feeling festive, how about a chocolate fountain? If you have trouble sourcing any of the items you need for your event, they are all available online.
  • About a week prior to your event, consider sending a reminder email or calling your guests to encourage them to attend.
  • Once the party begins, give folks some time to arrive, settle in, mingle, and taste the chocolate.
  • Next, gather your guests for a quick welcome and begin the film.
  • After the film, take some time to discuss what you've learned. It can be hard to speak to a group of people, but remember that you're doing this for a very important cause. Green America has compiled an extensive list of ideas and talking points for your party, including action steps to ask of your guests, as well as a petition they can sign to encourage Hershey to go fair trade.
  • If your budget allows, consider sending each guest home with a goody bag, perhaps containing a few bite-sized samples of fair trade chocolates, as well as a flyer about fair trade and some fair trade recipes.
Further Reading:
How to Taste Chocolate by Equal Exchange
V-Day's Dark Side by Rodney North

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