Community Involvement

We are proud to support farmers who are cultivating new opportunities for their communities.

The chocolate industry faces a lot of challenges in regard to how farmers are compensated, and how workers on those farms are treated. Despite the best intentions, forced labor is sometimes still used on some farms, particularly in West Africa, where a majority of the world’s cacao is grown. Certifications are no guarantee that cacao wasn’t harvested using unfair labor practices, or that the farmer received a fair price for their cacao.

At Goodnow Farms we believe it’s important to have firsthand knowledge of the places from which we source our cacao and the people who are growing, fermenting and drying it. We’ve been to the source for each of our cacao varieties to ensure that both farmers and workers are being fairly and humanely treated. Witnessing harvest and post-harvest practices also ensures we’re getting the highest quality beans, and that those beans can be provided on a consistent basis.

We also do our best to engage with and give back to communities and farmers, developing mutually beneficial relationships.

We loved the cacao being farmed by Asochivite, an association formed by the villagers of San Juan Chivite to create fine flavor cacao. During our first trip to their village we saw that their fermenting and drying facilities were in dire need of improvement. The villagers told us they’d been expecting a government grant, but when that fell through they were left without the funds necessary to improve their existing facilities. Through conversations with the villagers and Cacao Verapaz we were able to come to an arrangement whereby Goodnow Farms funded the construction of a new fermentation and drying facility. This new facility not only allows the association to provide consistently high quality cacao, it also allows them to increase their yearly production.

Another challenge the villagers face is that the population is aging as younger members leave the village due to a lack of available land. We’re currently in discussions with Cacao Verapaz to provide micro loans to the community so that they can buy surrounding acreage, and provide more opportunities for younger villagers to farm their own land.

At Goodnow Farms we’re firmly committed to ensuring the cacao we source is ethically grown, that the farmers are fairly compensated, and that the farming methods used are sustainable. We will continue to travel to the source to ensure that our cacao always meets our high standards.

The new cacao drying area, along the path to the Chivite village.
The new drying area, in progress. The clear plastic roof keeps the beans dry while still letting in lots of sun.
Marlon Pangan of Cacao Verapaz (wearing a Goodnow Farms hat!) explains where to place the new organic drying area signs to Gerber. This is the first time Asochivite will have certified organic beans!
Don Marcos and Enrique working on the drying platforms.
Since there’s no electricity, all of the work is done by hand.
Don Marcos takes a break out of the sun!
To ensure consistent quality, Asochivite keeps detailed logs of all their cacao fermentation and drying.