The mission of the Haitian Chocolate Project is to create U.S. demand for Haitian grown chocolate in a manner that builds capacity and infrastructure in Haiti.
UPDATE STRETCH GOAL SUCCESS!
2/17/16 : As a special thank you to all our backers, you will all be invited to our release party and have a chance to win the Golden Ticket. Whoever gets a Golden Ticket in their chocolate bar will receive a Bay Area Chocolate Tour (our highest reward)! We have also decided to issue up to 5 more Golden Tickets! For every $1,000 the campaign receives in pledges between now and the end of the campaign we will hide another Golden Ticket randomly in the bars. Please note: the Golden Ticket tour will be a one day tour with all of the Golden Ticket winners.
Haiti has the potential to produce world class chocolate and through this help create more Haitian jobs and sustainable economic development. Unfortunately, the historic lack of capital and infrastructure in Haiti has prevented high quality Haitian chocolate from being produced. Additionally, the exploitative purchasing practices of cacao speculators has forced farmers to take low prices for their cacao, from which chocolate is made. The Haitian Chocolate Project is a collaboration of experts across the chocolate supply chain who are seeking to change that.
1. Increase awareness and demand for high quality Haitian grown chocolate, especially with U.S. consumers. In many ways, chocolate is like wine. Different varieties, soils and growing practices can have significant influence on the final product. Growing conditions in Haiti share much with that of the Dominican Republic, a highly sought after origin for chocolate. In some expert opinions Haiti’s soil and conditions are even more ideal for creating a rich and flavorful cacao. Unfortunately, Haiti's recent history has prevented it from sharing its unique and special chocolate with the world. As a result, chocolate consumers, even specialty, craft chocolate consumers are unaware of Haiti as an origin for outstanding chocolate. By building awareness of the quality of Haitian cacao, we can help a wider audience appreciate and continue to seek out this excellent type of chocolate.
2. Reduce the number of intermediaries between farmers and consumers and ensure that Haitian cacao farmers receive a bigger piece of the pie (or in this case, chocolate bar). It is unfortunately common in food production that farmers are the least rewarded participants in the production process. This is typically because of a high number of intermediaries between the farmer and the finished product, and because much of the value is created in the final stages of processing. Chocolate is no exception. Paying farmers better prices for high quality beans is just the first step. In order for chocolate to be a truly transformative means of economic development, farmers and farmer cooperatives must be more involved in the actual process of making chocolate.
It is no secret that Haiti needs support, but handouts aren't the solution. Haiti needs jobs and sustainable economic opportunities that support communities. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere due to the result of centuries of colonialism, slavery, exploitation, and bad luck. Although Haiti’s poverty conditions gained more general awareness with the 2010 earthquake, many of the funds and support that were collected ended up in the wrong hands or never reached their destination, resulting in very few sustainable infrastructure improvements. Haiti’s battle today is harder than ever, with little to build from or with and corruption and poverty steeped in every aspect of life.
Yet through it all, Haiti is a beautiful country, both culturally and physically, with amazing passionate people and vibrant life. The joy and strong spirits of the Haitians are as tangible as the desolation that surrounds them.
With this comes the fact that Haiti is one of the most perfect environments for growing cacao. Cacao was originally planted by french plantation owners in the 18th century, prior to the Haitian revolution. The centuries old traditions of excellent cacao harvesting have been handed down and today’s generation has wisdom and expertise in all aspects of cacao farming.
They battle against the fact that Haiti has suffered incredible deforestation since the 1960s. Cacao in Haiti is grown as an understory crop that needs shade and increased planting of cacao offers an opportunity to increase the tree cover of the country while creating delicious chocolate and providing economic opportunity.
Cooperative Agricole Freres-Unis Petit Bourg Du Borne (CAFUPBO)
CAFUPBO is a collective of Haitian chocolate farmers in and around the jungle town of Petit Bourg du Borgne in North Haiti. Following the successful model established by coffee cooperatives in Haiti, the cacao farmers harvest and bring delicious cacao pods to a central location for fermentation, drying, and shipping. Only the highest quality cacao is selected from the farmers’ batches. By banding together in cooperative more cacao can be collected and sold, thereby increasing the ability for each farmer to receive profits. Likewise, the cooperative structure allowed money to be pooled to build fermentation tanks, which makes selling the beans on the international market more desirable. We are thrilled to be partnering with CAFUPBO to bring their Haitian chocolate directly to you.
Singing Rooster is a social enterprise non-profit working with farmer coops and small-scale farmers to help alleviate poverty in Haiti. Singing Rooster provides support in the form of business consulting, pre-harvest loans, and most significantly, access to markets. Singing Rooster imports and sells Haitian coffee to the United States, returning 66% of the sale price to farmers. This experience has given Singing Rooster expertise on the unique challenges of doing business across borders. Singing Rooster’s role importing Haitian cacao, is a vital step in making it finally accessible to US markets.
Bisou Chocolate is a small batch, bean to bar chocolate maker in Berkeley, CA. Eli and Tracey work tremendously hard to make sure that they are making the finest chocolate possible. By focusing on single origin batches they highlight the special characteristics of the cacao of a given region, focusing on what makes them unique. We are absolutely thrilled to have their help turning the Haitian cacao into bars and nibs for you to taste!
The Bar One Campaign:
The Bar One campaign is our chance to put amazing Haitian chocolate in your hands! We are bringing the first Haitian grown chocolate to the US and allowing you the chance to try an entirely new and delicious variety of chocolate.
By supporting this campaign, you are providing income to help increase chocolate making capacity and infrastructure in Haiti. Funds from this kickstarter will help CAFUPBOto build more cacao fermentation tanks, which will in turn allow them to deliver and ship larger batches of beans, and will help drop the price of Haitian cacao and make it more competitive and sought after. This creates a positive feedback loop so that more money can go back into the Haitian economy and to the Haitian farmers directly as well as providing the capital needed for the coop to eventually make it’s own chocolate bars, allowing for more Haitian farmers to receive an even greater portion of the sale price of chocolate produced from cacao they have grown.
Thanks to our amazing partnerships with CAFUPBO, Singing Rooster, and Bisou, we are thrilled to offer you the first chance to buy a Haitian chocolate bar in the US!
Try it out! Let us know what you think. Buy some for your friends. Share Haitian chocolate with a wider audience and directly support Haitian chocolate farmers in the process!
Valerie Beck’s Guided Chocolate Tasting Video - This reward was custom made by Valerie Beck, creator of Chocolate Uplift, for our campaign to help anyone, regardless of their previous chocolate expertise, learn how to taste and appreciate fine chocolate.
Bar One: Haitian Chocolate Bar - A hand-numbered custom made 2.5 oz chocolate bar made from Haitian cacao*, cocoa butter, and unrefined cane sugar. Using CAFUPBO’s beans, imported from Singing Rooster, and hand-crafted into bar form by Bisou Chocolate. Enjoy! *Organic and Fair Trade
Glass Cacao Pod Candy Dish This reward was custom made by Sam Schumacher, creator of Rocket Glass Works and a partner of the Haitian Chocolate Project. Shaped and sized like half of a cacao pod split open, this beautiful and one-of-a-kind glass dish is the perfect coffee-table centerpiece or candy holder.
San Francisco Bay Area Chocolate Tour - Join Valerie Beck of Chocolate Uplift, and the Haitian Chocolate Project founders for a custom day, touring a variety of the chocolate companies in the Bay Area, meeting the creators, learning how chocolate is made, having behind-the-scenes access, and sampling many delicious chocolates!
The Haitian Chocolate Project is collaboration among many partners, utilizing their unique skills towards achieving our mission. Thanks to all our partners for their hard work and dedication.
Project Coordinators: Ben Feldman and Lee Granas
Advisers, Supporters and Collaborators:
Valerie Beck - Chocolate Uplift
Daniel Korson - Coracao Confections
Lauren Schiller - Advice/feedback
Matt Silas - Advice/feedback
Brendon Fong - Advice/feedback
DJ Mo Corleone - Music for the video
Andy VanSickle-Ward - Video equipment and computer hardware
Sam Schumacher - Rocket Glass Works
Iain Burke - Visual Design and branding
Konbeatz - Matthew Sturm, Mo Corleone, Samara Cummins, Gina Melekh, Ali Fogarty, Stephanie Smith, Sandra Kwak
Everyone at Haiti Communitere, especially Taylor Beck
Elie Judie - Translation
Muriel LaMois - website design
Risks and challenges
We have worked to ensure that risks are mitigated. Our agreements with our partners are in place, our beans are already in storage in California, and we are ready to go. Should our project be highly funded, our biggest challenge will be getting rewards out quickly. We will be limited in how quickly we can process beans into bars and ship them.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (25 days)