Thursday, March 19, 2009


First-Bulletin: Very important - Please look at this post from the Organic Consumers Union,
& pass it on... (take action here, and read more about NAIS and Monsanto in "Look Out!" links at right, and 2/19 Territorial Seed post, below)

Next, Quick check in - We had a GREAT visit from Rebecca Roebber of the Kallari chocolate cooperative!
Becca visited with our Land & Sea Youth high school club + advisors and friends; the 5th grade classes of Debbie Taylor, CJ Wavra and Jay Westphalen at FH Elem., and 3 of Jim McNairy's classes combined with 2 of Ruthie Paull's cooking classes at FH High School. Becca also gave a well received presentation at the FH Library (thank you Adrienne Bourne, Beth Helstein and Floyd, tech expert), and we had a wonderful evening with many island farmers. (Thank you 3/17 incarnation of the All You Can Eat Band!). The assistance of both Tom Schultz and the last minute computer expertise of Bruce Gregory helped make the presentation in the hayloft possible. Thank you Jim and Christina, also Casey, Vince, Tim, and Tito!
Our island gave Becca a wonderful reception, and this capable young woman did a great job doing not only her planned part but filling in for the missing (and missed)
Enrique, telling us about the production of chocolate worldwide, and the inspiring ongoing story of Ecuador's Kallari cooperative. In exchange, Linda told Becca about fresh milk and Becca decided to write a paper on dairy farmers as a result! Thank you so much, Becca! Mucho gusto.
For more info on Kallari, please check the last 2 posts below. (Mouse over highlighted words for links). Kallari choc. is available at Compost it! in FH & may become available at the SJI Co op soon. Maureen will give discounts on the chocolate to island farmers. There were questions for Becca about the cooperative that we are getting the answers for ( the name of liqified cacao nibs; questions on Kallari farmers' soil amendments and pruning techniques, etc.). We'll post that info here as soon as we get it.
Thanks to everyone who participated!
One more inspiring bit of news:
In late 2008, Ecuador's government added a new amendment to the country's constitution protecting the rights of ecosystems, making Ecuador the 2nd country in the world (Switzerland is the 1st) to protect the rights of plants. (see post below, Feb 6th, 2009)

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Photo, left: Carlos Pozo,
director of commerce for Kallari chocolate

We've had a change with our visit. The Truffle Class Wed. 3/18 has been cancelled. We are still doing the 3/18 SJ Library "Bean to Bar" presentation/ tasting event, Wed. 3:15-4:45 pm.

We found out this morning that half of the chocolate team - Enrique - will not be coming due to having his visa held up by the U.S. Embassy in Quito. (Please see embassy contact info below) Rebecca Roebber, the translator and intern that is the other half of the team will still visit. She is the person who does the Powerpoint about what is happening with the Kallari cooperative in Ecuador, and is directly involved with cacoa production and chocolate making in Ecuador, along with working with the tribe in their interactions with governments and corporations, and is very knowledgeable on these things and more.

Becca will be doing the free presentation 3/18 at the Library, and the chocolate tasting that goes with it, which is what she usually does anyway, and our visits to classes, and meetup with farmers, but Enrique will not be there to contribute.

Becca will be a compelling guest, and along with the chocolate tasting in her presentation, will talk about sustainable farming, indigenous rights, the environment, her role as a college student, intern and translator with Kallari and probably a little something on the politics that hold up visas. She has many visuals, chocolate, and will make time for questions. She has been doing the presentation alone on the east cost at universities and for other groups for the dates already booked for the visits that were supposed to be with Enrique, and they've been going very well.

About the visa and passport: 23 year-old chocolatier Enrique Cerda was told in February that he could have his visa and passport reissued after it was stolen enroute to the airport. Enrique has never left the country before embarking on this trip; he has been away from his village and in the capitol city of Quito for weeks now awaiting the promised reissue. Despite the personal intercession of Ecuador's ambassador to the U.S., a big supporter of Kallari, the personal appeals of Canadian master chocolatier Eric Gilbert, who trained Enrique in truffle making in Ecuador and who is presently in Quito to help Enrique get his passport reissued, and other well respected intermediaries, the passport reissue has been held up on technicalities.
Each time the application must be corrected and a new fee paid: the fee has been paid 4 times now. One of the last objections by the embassy to the reissue? The dates listed on the original application for some of the scheduled events Enrique would be going to on the East Coast were now passed. The dates had passed, of course, because the passport had not been reissued, resulting in Becca having to go to those events alone. Result? Pay another $151 and reapply.
Enrique's passport and visa had originally been issued for 5 years so that he could travel to the U.S. to
talk about Kallari. The promotional materials for this visit and Kallari presentation talk about chocolate and truffle making, and about indigenous rights and the Kallari cooperative as an “innovative economic model [that ] is nothing short of revolutionary in the global chocolate industry”. The Kichwa people of Ecuador’s Kallari are now self supporting, able to keep the forests around them whole, and sending their children not just to school for sometimes the first time, but to universities where the first of those children are graduating with professional degrees. Kallari has their U.S. headquarters in Chicago and is distributed by the U.S. organic foods company Applegate Farms, whose CEO and founder Stephen McDonnell, helped form the Kallari Chocolate Co. Whole Foods Markets just had a big launch of Whole Food/Kallari chocolate bars, noting their exclusive packaging of bars of "the best chocolate in the world". Kallari started in 1997 as a craft cooperative with less than fifty families from the Kichwa tribe. A story on Kallari by Leonora Oppenheim on treehugger . com explains "Now the cooperative includes 660 families, and as well as craftwork they now produce organic chocolate and coffee. These products are being exported to 12 countries around the world and provide a sustainable income for the Kichwa people without them having to succumb to logging, mining or petroleum interests." Enrique's village is situated near a very large undrilled petroleum deposit in Ecuador.
Robert Steinberg, founder of Scharfen Berger chocolate traveled to Ecuador and trained the Kichwa in the first steps of chocolate making. 23 year old Enrique Cerda had initial success in the complex and demanding process of tempering and is thought to be the only indigenous cacao grower to achieve such a high level of expertise in the art of chocolate making. Enrique has now begun experimenting with Amazon fruits to create unique truffle fillings. Canadian chocolate master Eric Gilbert traveled from Montreal to Ecuador so Enrique could apprentice with him on the fine art of truffle making.

Becca has given the presentation solo at universities, including MIT, on the East Coast and in Chicago. She has offered to cancel
the events, but has been asked to continue at each of the venues.
In her note to me this morning, she said "I have lived with the Kichwa communities and learned a lot about the process that accompanies the cacao production and chocolate making. I encourage you to continue with the planned event, because it supports Kallari [the Kichwa worker owned cooperative] and it really is an educational experience for everyone..."

Becca would appreciate if anyone disappointed with not being allowed to hear Enrique talk about his village, Kallari, and chocolate, call or email the American embassy in Quito to let them know that it is unfair that they have not supplied Enrique with any real reason that he should not be allowed to come once they have already given him a five year visa. She says "It really is very political, and they will pay attention if they get 50 messages, I hope..."

contact info for
Embassy of the United States of America in Quito, Ecuador:
Embassy Switchboard:
From abroad: 593-2-398-5000

1. General Embassy email:
2. Foreign Agricultural Service:
3. Foreign Commercial Service:
4. Consular Section:

Business hours:
Monday through Friday, from 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM, and from 1:30 PM to 5:00 PM. except during holidays

Contact for translator and Kallari presentation coordinator Rebecca Roebber:

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Enrique Cerda, a member of the Kallari Chocolate Association in Ecuador, and translator/intern Rebecca Roebber will be visiting Friday Harbor as guests of Land & Sea Slow Food San Juan Island March 16, 17, & 18. Kallari chocolate has been called “the best chocolate in the world”.
Two public events:
1010 Guard St.. Free, Open to All, donations will be gladly accepted to go directly to Kallari to help defray costs of travel and chocolate. Presentation to promote sustainable agriculture and indigenous rights with Ecuadorian cacao farmer and truffle maker Enrique Cerda and translator/intern Becca Roebber of the community owned Kallari Association chocolate. Followed by a chocolate tasting featuring single origin bars of various percentages from around the world - helping participants understand the taste and reason for the wide range of flavors available in the diverse array of chocolates. Info: 472-0880/317-5890
With Enrique Cerda Master Truffle Maker of Kallari, and Patrick, owner of Bakery San Juan, trained French pastry chef and master baker, using Kallari chocolate.
Where: BAKERY SAN JUAN, 775 Mullis Street, Friday Harbor
$25 recomended donation. RESERVATIONS REQUIRED, due to limited class size.
Contact Linda at 317-5890 to make a reservation, or email

About Kallari
KALLARI (kah-YAH-di) is a cooperative of over 850 Kichwa cacao farm families in the Amazonian Napo Province of Ecuador. With student activist Judy Logback, the Kichwa people created this cooperative for more control over revenues. Realizing most profit is made from sales of chocolate bars, not the cacao beans, the Kallari Association decided to produce their own chocolate. Robert Steinberg, a founder of Scharffen Berger chocolate, advised the cooperative on chocolate making and Stephen McDonnell, the founder and chief executive of the Applegate Farms organic food company, helped them establish the Kallari Chocolate Company. Kallari is doing something never done before in the global chocolate industry, with self-reliant governance and innovative economic model. The cooperative provides the Kichwa people economic resources to resist both logging their forests and short-term-only riches offered by environmentally harmful petroleum extraction. 100 percent of profits from sales of chocolate bars is returned to the Kallari cooperative. The Kallari cooperative is Rainforest Alliance Certified, which is denoted by the little green frog seal on the packaging. Farms that are Rainforest Alliance Certified protect wildlife, wild lands, workers' rights and local communities. In 2004 a chocolate bar made with Kallari beans was presented at the Slow Food Terra Madre conference in Turin, Italy. Slow Food selected the rare organic Cacao Nacional cacao bean found only in the Kallari communities for the Presidium Award.

23 year old Enrique Cerda is one of over 80 members of the Kallari Association participating in the process of chocolate making. His success in the complex tempering process led to an apprenticeship with Montreal master chocolatier Eric Gilbert, who trained Cerda in the art of truffle making. Now Enrique has begun experimenting with Amazon fruits to create unique truffle fillings.
He is the only indigenous cacao grower to achieve such a high level of expertise in the art of chocolate making.
Enrique’s community is Shandia, a Kichwa village on Jatun Yaku, the main tributary of the Napo River.

Rebecca Roebber spent a year in South America; the majority of her time in Argentina and Ecuador, and through University of Oregon began an internship with Kallari and the Kichwa people. She values that experience and wants to continue working with the Kichwa people in the future.
This spring Becca is finishing her undergrad degree at the University of Oregon, major International Studies, minor Spanish.
The Napo region of Ecuador, home to Kallari, is home also to more than 500 bird species, 800 butterfly species, 100 mammal species and 2000 species of flowering plants as well as a species of endangered Caiman. Estimations are that the Ecuadorian Amazon has been inhabited by hunter-gatherer groups for the past 10,000 years, and the majority of Amazon peoples still carry out their cultural traditions.
Read our Feb. 6 post for news of Ecuador's groundbreaking constitutional amendment protecting biodiversity.
Also "Livin' la Vida Pura" about activist and Kallari founder Judy Logback.

Kallari and the Open Architecture Challenge
AMD and Open Architecture Network's international design competition invited architects & designers from all over the world to find ways of improving living conditions for the half the world's population surviving on less than $2 a day.
Winning designers are from Nis, Serbia, and Indianapolis. Winning design here, and young architects' Ecuador blog here. Art and design work for Kallari cafe and cooperative by writer/designer/activist Leonora Oppenheim here.
Enrique and Becca will be informally touring the island and meeting islanders during their 2 1/2 day stay, will meet with San Juan Island farmers, visit 5th grade classes, FHHS cooking classes, & have dinner with our Land & Sea Youth club during this visit arranged by Land & Sea. We are so happy Becca wrote to us; to have them as visitors; and are especially excited about this new connection to the world-wide farming community!
OK - That's not all...Youth Club Event!Sunday March 8: Land & Sea Youth Club Cob Oven Building Workshop with Ryan Browne
Where: Marinkovich's 252 Treeline Drive 11 AM - 4 PM
questions -472-0880/317-5890 or
Our Youth Club has been busy, even for this wintery time of year!
We've had ongoing cob oven building workshops with Ryan Browne, cooking and chocolate workshops with chef Madden Surbaugh of Steps restaurant and Margaret and Joel Thorson, we've met with a young traveling farmworker to hear all about the WWOOF farmworker's organization, visited a certified raw milk dairy, organic chicken and biodynamic vegetable farm, farmstand, and the SJI Community Co-Op, and we are planning our club demonstration garden and putting together our farmworker training programs, with training opportunities already available! Check our club web page for photos of some of what we've been doing!

One last thing - Looking for youth interns to train in farm work - and right now we have a possibility for an internship learning all about goats, including kidding, milking, and cheesemaking. Wonderful opportunity for work once or twice a week for a focused individual, or two.
Age seventh grade through 2o's - All you need is maturity, and a sense of responsibility, to have the wonderful world of sustainable farmwork open up to you! Contact us at or 317-5890 for more info.