I went to a Chocolate Cooperative in Huyapam. https://es-es.facebook.com/cacaochocolate
The Cooperative came as a result of the alternative university they have in Oaxaca called: Universidad de la Tierra (University of the Land). Formed in 2012, the cooperative began because 1/1000 from indigenous communities have access to universities and the jobs they can get are often exploitative. They decided there’s knowledge in the community to be a tool to change their way of life.
After getting together, the three partners looked at the food sovereignty concept and GMOs and recovering the capacity to eat what we want. They are actively engaged in the struggle against the corporations that are trying to control what we eat. This is a political act. And, politics are at the heart of the collaborative. They use the Zapatista model of autonomy; it is an inspiration to organize the cooperative.
One of the presenters explained, ” The act of making chocolate changes our situation, our community, our lives.”
Moreover, the cooperative enables them to stay in Oaxaca and not migrate. They further explained that Mexican schools in the 70s and 80s killed native languages, focusing on English and Spanish. Children were punished for speaking their mother languages. They explained there is a duality between corn and cacao. Corn grows in the sun; cacao in the shade.
Equipped with a solid background, we were prepared for the work at hand; we cleaned, toasted, ground (on a bicycle mill), blended (with honey and almonds and amaranth) chocolate to make our own delicious, bittersweet truffles. We worked in teams. I was partnered with four other people to complete the process. I cleaned, I toasted, I shelled (I got a cacao shell under my left thumb!), I mixed, I balled, I sampled, I designed chocolates.
You may have read earlier that I have tried weaving, piñata making, mask making, cooking, ceramics, alebrijes painting, and even cooking. I have been a miserable failure, but I did a pretty good job (minus the fact that I still have some of the bean shell under my thumbnail) of making delicious truffles. I did such a good job, I almost gave myself a stomachache.