Heroes

Being aware of things like a tiny green frog on the label of your chocolate makes a big difference.

There's a lot going on behind that little green frog you might have seen.

Let's meet Adrien, a cocoa farmer who is a member of a Rainforest Alliance Certified cooperative in Ivory Coast, Africa.

He's a true pioneer of sustainability who farms in a way that protects the land for generations to come.

And he's pretty delightful.


Did you know paying attention to a little frog logo could help farmers like Adrien?

On some things you might buy at the market, there is this little frog logo.

Just what is behind that?

It means the product uses ingredients sourced from a Rainforest Alliance Certified farm.

What does that mean, exactly?

It means the farm uses methods that are good for the forest, soil, streams, and rivers — as well as for farmers, their families, and their communities. I spoke with the Rainforest Alliance to get more details.

"Rainforest Alliance certification ensures that farmers have access to housing, medical care, personal safety equipment and clean, potable water. It also promotes decent wages, educational opportunities for their children, and technical assistance to keep farmers on the cutting edge of sustainable farming practices."
— Tensie Whelan, Rainforest Alliance

It helps farmers like Adrien (above and the video below) grow sustainably and successfully. GIF via Rainforest Alliance.

The non-governmental organization started in the 1980s, and now 13.6% of all the world's cocoa is Rainforest Alliance certified as well as just over 5% of the world's coffee and several other products grown in critically important ecosystems, such as tea and bananas.

I looked, and chocolate and coffee that are Rainforest Alliance Certified are a bit more expensive. Why spend a few extra dimes on that chocolate versus the commercial brands?

Again, Tensie has the answer:

"When consumers choose to spend their money on certified products, it directly benefits the farmers who produced the crops. They enjoy better working conditions and a higher standard of life. Money is also reinvested in communities and schools, planting positive seeds of sustainability training and education for generations to come."

(Also, I checked, and much — if not all — is organic. That's worth a bit extra for me.)

In addition to that, though, some major companies use certified cocoa in their products, including some of the premium chocolates offered by Dove and Hershey's in the United States and Côte d'Or, Marabou, and Suchard internationally.

One last thing, though. You're wondering (at least, I hope you are!) which chocolate or coffee and such you can buy when you want to get Rainforest Alliance Certified?

Some links for you: chocolate and coffee. You're welcome!

This week, a Supreme Court ruling has acknowledged that, at least for the sake of federal criminal prosecutions, most of the eastern half of Oklahoma belongs to the Muscogee (Creek) Indian Tribe. The ruling enforces treaties made in the 19th century, despite objections from state and federal governments, and upholds the sovereignty of the Muscogee to prosecute crimes committed by tribe members within their own lands.

The U.S. government has a long and storied history of breaking treaties with Native American tribes, and Indigenous communities have suffered greatly because of those broken promises.

Stacy Leeds, a former Cherokee Nation Supreme Court justice and former special district court judge for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, described the ruling in an article on Slate:

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