After lunch we were taken to the steamy wonderland of Eden Project’s tropical Biome. Kojo and Paul were astonished to be introduced to Hetty – Eden’s very own cocoa farmer! – before being introduced to Eden’s very own cocoa trees! The winner of the Divine Poetry competition (12-16years age group), Caitlin Guest, had made a special trip to Eden to meet the farmers. We were privileged enough to hear a live reading of her winning poem ‘Not Just Cocoa’.
School groups were treated to first hand stories of cocoa farming in Ghana and Paul gave a live demonstration of splitting open a cocoa pod with a machete! Visitors were given the rare opportunity to sample the fruity pulp of the cocoa seed in the Biome and the chance to sample delicious Divine Chocolate up in Eden’s shop. Having seen the biome Kojo said “I can’t believe that all the plants we were telling you about are here. We’ll have to watch out … soon Eden will be growing cocoa for the UK’s chocolate!”.
ASDA head office staff in Leeds had a chocolaty treat when they got to sample Divine Chocolate and Fairtrade fruit with the Divine Chocolate fountain on Thursday. It was a real hit with everyone!
Also on site sampling of Fairtrade coffee, fruit, chesses and wine the Fairtrade Foundation Bus was on site before moving on into the Leeds city centre
Paul with Exeter school children
Paul and Kojo proudly holding up a fabric painting from the school children
Three different groups of students enjoyed a day of learning, cooking and painting. Kojo and Paul took us through the ‘bean to bar’ story, and introduced students to cocoa pods, fermenting and dried cocoa beans. Touch, smell and taste all helped to familiarise unsuspecting participants to the surprising origins of their Divine and Dubble Fairtrade chocolate.
It was a great morning and we were rewarded with delicious chocolate dipped bananas and pineapples (all Fairtrade of course!) At the end of the workshops Kojo and Paul were presented with a wonderful ‘bean to bar’ fabric painting that the students had worked on during the day. The scene depicted each stage of the bean to bar story and included seeds and beads to give the pods a great textured finish. We thanked all the students and organisers with Dubble bars and ‘Stock the Choc’ postcards before leaving for the next destination – Exeter FM radio station!
Following Kojo and Paul’s interview we were taken (via a delicious Fairtrade Café!) to Exeter’s Global Centre, where we got the opportunity to meet Martin Odoch, Field Manager for the Mpanga Growers Tea Factory in Uganda. Kojo, Paul and Martin talked to Plymouth University students about Fairtrade and how its benefits are experienced by cocoa and tea farmers. Following the talks, the celebrations begun for the evening and we were treated to farmer presentations, songs, role plays and, of course, some delicious Fairtrade food and wine! (Devon Fairtrade campaign)
Sunderland University celebrated Fairtrade Fortnight with hot chocolate, a chocolate fountain with Fairtrade bananas and Divine Chocolate samples. Divine Chocolate’s Sales and Marketing Manager, Alistair Menzies, gave a talk to the business school students showing how Fairtrade businesses can benefit everyone including the producers throughout the supply chain. Sunderland University have been great supporters of Fairtrade for many years and have Fairtrade University status.
Kojo and Paul were out and about in London’s financial district on Monday. In the morning, they spoke at a well attended Business Breakfast at Guildhall, the old 15th century seat of government for the City of London.
At the event there was also a speaker from the Fairtrade Foundation, and someone from BT, who spoke about how they implemented Fairtrade purchasing across the company. Kojo and Paul spoke about the benefits of Fairtrade to cocoa farmers in Ghana, and about how Divine’s unique farmer-owned model meant that they themselves received a share of the profits from Divine’s first dividend last year.
Off to nearby St Mary le Bow Church on Cheapside for a lunchtime debate, organised by Trading Visions and Justshare. The farmers spoke alongside speakers from Divine, Tropical Wholefoods and Fairtrade Foundation, along with an academic and a sceptical business consultant. It was a lively debate with good audience participation, with wine and chocolate afterwards.
Paul and Kojo had time to visit St Paul’s while they were in the City, climbing the great dome of one of the largest cathedrals in the world. They thought it was an amazing building and really enjoyed the bright February sunshine views across London, though they also found the wind rather cold!