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The National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) has launched two, limited edition “International Year of Co-ops” chocolate bars, made in partnership with Seattle-based Theo Chocolate, available exclusively through NCGA food co-ops across the country. For every chocolate bar sold, NCGA will donate 50 cents to support the two co-ops that supply cocoa to manufacture the products: Fortaleza del Valle cocoa cooperative in Ecuador and the CEPICAFE cocoa cooperative in Peru.
“Food co-ops have long provided a direct link between shoppers and farmers,” said Robynn Shrader, CEO for Iowa City-based NCGA. “These limited edition chocolate bars provide direct support for cocoa farmers by ensuring living wages, promote the health of our planet through organic growing practices, and create artisan food manufacturing jobs in the U.S.”
The International Year of Co-ops chocolate bars are organic and fair trade certified, and come in 85 percent dark and 45 percent milk chocolate varieties. NCGA aims to raise more than $40,000 for the cacao growers' co-ops in Ecuador and Peru by year-end. For more information, or to find a participating co-op, visit the official website.
Cooperative businesses are part of a diverse and growing worldwide movement. In recognition of the tangible economic and social contributions made by cooperative businesses, the United Nations declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives.
The NCGA helps unify food co-ops in order to optimize operational and marketing resources, strengthen purchasing power, and offer more value to natural food co-op owners and shoppers everywhere. The 128 member and associate co-ops operate 165 storefronts in 35 states.