We are proud to present one of the top education programs in the world for chocolate lovers from all walks of life. Chocolate Lovers Unite (!) at Smith Cove Cruise Terminal, Pier 91 in Seattle, Washington for a weekend packed with world-class workshops on chocolate! 
Sunday, November 13 • 1:00pm - 1:50pm
Cacao Producers Keynote Panel

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Marketing of artisan, ethically sourced chocolate often focusses on optimistic stories of positive impact, improved livelihoods and increased quality of life in the farmer communities who participate in Fair-Trade, direct trade, organic production, and various micro-enterprise opportunities. However, the fact remains that farming and processing cacao is hard work, prices are still relatively low with many producers living in poverty, and major issues related to equity and fairness are endemic to the global cocoa supply chains. This panel will offer the opportunity to hear directly from producers and workers in origin countries in order to better understand both the positive impact that innovative trade and marketing programs are having on cacao growing communities as well as the challenges and struggles that still exist within the industry.  What is life like in cacao producing communities? What are the challenges that farmers face? What are the improvements that can be seen from some of the collaborative programs represented at the Northwest Chocolate Festival and elsewhere? Through this panel, we hope to “lift the veil” regarding the life of cacao producers and in so doing, gain deeper insight into the realities of farming and producing cacao in origin countries.

avatar for Sunita de Tourreil

Sunita de Tourreil

Founder, The Chocolate Garage
Sunita de Tourreil left prion disease in search of work that would engage her mind, heart and palate. Happy Chocolate does just that and has proven to be an even bigger challenge than expected! Sunita is committed to working in partnership with craft chocolate makers to transform... Read More →

avatar for Hildrebando Cardenas

Hildrebando Cardenas

General Manager, Oro Verde Cooperative
Hildrebando Cardenas holds an undergraduate degree in Food Engineering. Cardenas also | holds two masters degrees, a masters in Sustainable Agriculture from the Universidad Nacional Agriaria de la Selva (UNAS) and masters in Agribusiness from the Universidad Esan (ESAN).  Cardenas... Read More →
avatar for Leon Antonio Rufino Escobar

Leon Antonio Rufino Escobar

APROCAT Cooperative
Leon Antonio Rufino Escobar holds a degree in agronomy with additional certifications in: Environmental Impact Assessment; Development, Management, and Assesment of Social Projects; Project Management and Food Safety.  With 22 years of experience working with small holder farmers... Read More →
avatar for Carl Fitzjames

Carl Fitzjames

Brasso Seco Chocolate Company and the Alliance of Rural Communities
Carl's grandfather was a laborer on a cocoa estate and Carl, now in his 60's, also eventually became a farmer and community organizer in Brasso Seco, a cocoa growing community of about 400. Carl started off in the chocolate making group as an ally to the young people, harvesting and... Read More →
avatar for Kelly Fitzjames

Kelly Fitzjames

Brasso Seco Chocolate Company and Alliance of Rural Communitie
Kelly Warren Fitzjames moved from her US suburban home at age 22 to live in Brasso Seco - a small, rural, rainforest village in Trinidad's northern mountain range. She feel in love with the ecosystem, the lifestyle and then a man and this place has been her home ever since. Kelly... Read More →
avatar for Minni Forman

Minni Forman

Managing Director, Maya Mountain Cacao
Born in a rural village in Southern Belize, Minni Forman spent the first 15 years of her life as a subsistence farmer. At the age of 15 she decided to leave her family farm and pursue an education in the United States. After graduating from college and gaining more than four years... Read More →
avatar for Seneca Klassen

Seneca Klassen

Founder and Chocolate Grower, Lonohana Chocolate
Seneca Klassen has the unusual distinction of being both a farmer and a chocolate maker. He brings a decade of knowledge about sourcing, propagating seedlings and farming cacao in Hawaii, as well as crafting award-winning small batch fine chocolate. He was co-founder of Bittersweet... Read More →

Sunday November 13, 2016 1:00pm - 1:50pm
Keynote Stage

Attendees (15)