Income Generation and Profits that Support Healthcare, Education, Rainforest Conservation & Community Development
Quito, Ecuador (February 4, 2004) – Something wildly different is emerging from the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador. Yachana Gourmet has created 4 unique varieties of Jungle Chocolate that are appealing to both the palate and the soul. Recognized as a Fair Trade product by the Fair Trade Federation, Jungle Chocolate is made from delicious all-natural ingredients grown by over 1,200 small family farmers in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Unlike other chocolate bars and candies on the market today that are loaded with sugar and melted and poured into solid forms, Jungle Chocolate features an innovative consistency made up of pure crunchy cocoa bits that never lose their crunch and don’t melt. Conveniently packaged in 2-ounce resealable pouches, it’s real chocolate flavor is the result of an exacting, labor-intensive and unique process. During the March to July harvest, Yachana Gourmet buys freshly picked cacao beans at a premium price from small family farms. Once the most aromatic and flavorful shade-grown cacao available has been selected, the beans are carefully fermented to bring out their rich chocolate taste. They are then sun dried, slowly roasted, coarsely cracked and finally mixed with just a touch of sugar cane syrup.
The chocolate is then blended with high-quality natural ingredients to produce four delicious varieties of Jungle Chocolate: Pineapple (toasted chocolate nibs mixed with chunks of tangy dried pineapple); Macadamia Nut (coarsely ground chocolate beans and loads of smooth macadamia nuts); Brazil Nut & Essence of Coffee (crushed chocolate beans and hearty Brazil Nuts covered in coffee essence); and Raisin & Coconut (lightly roasted chocolate bits and shredded coconut mixed with sweet raisins).
“To say Yachana Jungle Chocolate is innovative is an understatement,” says Bill Giebler, Director of Product Development for Gaiam, one of the world’s leading web and catalog retailers of natural products. “It’s a totally new kind of chocolate product and Yachana has joined the ranks of the new breed of socially progressive companies,” he adds.
Jungle Chocolate is a delicious ready-to-eat treat that is a perfect energy boost for health conscious people with active lifestyles. Compared to other chocolate and snacks, Jungle Chocolate is low in fat, carbs and sugars, and offers natural chocolate’s antioxidant properties.
PROTECTING THE RAINFOREST & ITS PEOPLE
What also sets Jungle Chocolate apart from the competition is the social mission of the manufacturer. Yachana Gourmet is an ecologically conscious, socially progressive company designed to purchase agricultural commodities grown in the rainforest, add value to those products in the jungle, and export finished products to international markets. Yachana Gourmet generates a Fair Trade income for small family farmers in the Amazon and supports the education, healthcare, poverty reduction, rainforest conservation, and community development projects of the Foundation for Integrated Education and Development (FUNEDESIN). Each purchase of Yachana Jungle Chocolate supports FUNEDESIN’s remote Mondana Health Clinic that serves more than 8,000 men, women and children living along the Napo River. Each purchase also helps to buy and protect Amazon rainforest. FUNEDESIN has conserved more than 3,600 acres of rainforest, to date.
The future of the Amazon rainforest is inextricably linked to the well being of the native people. In an effort to alleviate poverty and protect the rainforest, Yachana buys shade-grown cacao directly from rural cooperatives and family farmers. Yachana increases the earnings of rural farmers by cutting out exploitive middlemen and by paying Fair Trade prices. They also provide agro-technical assistance and a secure market on which over 1,200 subsistence-farming families can depend. This economic system is a healthy alternative to the unsustainable land uses that plague other regions of the rainforest such as unregulated logging, excessive cattle grazing and the cultivation of illicit crops
FUNEDESIN employs an innovative development model based on a non-profit/for profit organizational structure. The non-profit Foundation has created two for-profit companies, Yachana Gourmet and Yachana Lodge, to finance its fight against poverty and the destruction of Ecuador’s imperiled rainforest. Both companies provide local rainforest inhabitants with a dependable just income in addition to supporting FUNEDESIN’s sustainable community development projects. Yachana is a Quichua word which means “a place of learning,” an important part of the FUNEDESIN philosophy. The Yachana Lodge lives up to its name, it is truly an eco-tourism window into the world of the rainforest and its inhabitants. It has been rated as a top eco-tourism operation by several different international organizations and publications. “Yachana Lodge is the best true ecotourism project I have found in 17 years of travel in Ecuador,” says Rob Rachowiecki, Author of the Lonely Planet Travel Guide to Ecuador.
Yachana Gourmet’s Jungle Chocolate has a suggested retail price of $2.49 and will soon be at Wild Oats and a growing number of natural food stores in the Western U.S. It can also be ordered through www.yachanagourmet.com. For more information about Yachana Gourmet, Jungle Chocolate or FUNEDESIN, please visit the website or call 1-800-272-8408.