June 25, 2021 WRITTEN BY Gero Leson
This post is an abridged excerpt from my book Honor Thy Label: Dr. Bronner’s Unconventional Journey to a Clean, Green, and Ethical Supply Chain.
On my first drive to Asuom, Ghana in late 2006, in an area that would eventually be host to our organic and fair trade palm project Serendipalm, I met a new plant. In the bush next to the road I discovered a grove of trees that carried, on their trunks and major branches, ovoid fruits the shape of an American football, though about half its size. Held only by short connectors, they grew in clusters, with colors ranging from mottled green through deep yellow to a beautiful dark orange. I had not seen anything like it.
“What are they?” I asked our driver, Collins.
“Cocoa,” he said. “It’s peak harvest season.”
Yet another crop whose products I had consumed for years without bothering to think about where and how it grew! But it didn’t take long to develop a working relationship with the plant that grows chocolate. We would learn, even before we first purchased our first palm fruits in 2008, that many of our oil palm farmers also grew other tree crops, such as cocoa and citrus, and field crops, including cassava (manioc) and maize. We knew because farmers in an organic Internal Control System (ICS) must report all plots they farm, organic or not.
full article here