We sometimes get asked whether Tiny Isle products are organic. The answer is, as far as certification goes, no. As far as food quality and food ethics are concerned, we believe we hold our products to as high a standard as any certified organic manufacturer.
As anyone who owns a small business will likely agree, when you’re small, margins are tight. Paying for organic certification (many thousands as a yearly expense) doesn’t look like a sensible choice to us, especially in the local/artisanal products market where the organic label isn’t as necessary.
We also know that our local macadamia nut farmers and beekeepers are going to face similar choices about getting certified.
It’s Not About the Certification
Instead of looking for a certificate, we get to know our producers and see their operations. We gain firsthand knowledge of the quality of what they produce. Visiting the farm, we get a sense of their relationship to the land, and see that organic farming methods are in use. This makes sense to us, and we think that approach is also appreciated by the people who enjoy our products.
Well, the official word is out, we’re no longer allowed to put love into our products.
Just kidding…really we’re just not allowed to list “love” as in ingredient on our product packaging.
We’ve had “love” listed as an ingredient from the beginning, and although we chose to remove it several months ago (in order to be compliant with Whole Foods’ requirements) we still love making delicious, healthful treats in our kitchens here in Kapaa. We work with conscious intention for health, healing, love and gratitude in making all our products.
Nevertheless, I couldn’t help commenting on this news item because it’s so typical of the humorlessness of these bureaucracies that can’t recognize that people have the common sense to know when something is meant as an intention as opposed to a physical thing. I mean who thinks that we have a big bag of “love” back here and are adding it by the spoonful? Metaphorically, yes, that’s exactly what we are doing…but I think everyone gets that.
Many of us here on Kauai are concerned about the issue of food sustainability. It has long been known that plant diversity is key to food sustainability. Limiting the variety of things grown and narrowing the gene pool is like putting all your eggs into one basket. If something goes wrong all is lost. Diversity in the gene pool allows for adaptation to all kinds of changes. And, changes are inevitable. So, supporting diversity is a really good way to help ensure sustainability. Now, what does this have to do with eating chocolate one might ask. Writer Simran Sethi, says, “Eat more. Eat better chocolate. This is the path to saving the planet.”* Her commitment is highlighted in a recent email regarding our Tiny Isle Truffles in which she wrote, “I am wide awake because I ate TWO truffles! They are GORGEOUS.” **
Who is Simran Sethi besides someone who has eaten our Tiny Isle truffles and pronounced them gorgeous and what does eating chocolate have to do with food sustainability and saving the planet? Well, she is a journalist and educator who focuses on food sustainability and social change. She has been named a top 10 eco-hero of the planet by one of the the U.K.’s largest newspapers, The Independent, and she has been designated as one of the top eight women saving the planet by Marie Claire. She has also been the host of the PBS QUEST series on science and sustainability and the environmental correspondent for NBC News. And if that isn’t enough, Simran was also the anchor and writer of the Sundance Channel’s environmental programming The Green. She has been featured on the History Channel and National Public Radio, as well as on media in Australia, India and Italy. ***
Summing this up, I think I can say that she is someone who is not only concerned about this issue of food sustainability but someone who truly, passionately and deeply explores what it means. When she says that the choices we make in our kitchens, and the choices we make at the grocery store can ripple out to our food supply she knows what she is talking about. Simran has just released a book entitled Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love. It is a book about the dramatic changes occurring in food and agriculture over the last century told through the stories of bread, wine, chocolate, coffee and beer.
This is a book about our relationship to plants, food, culture and the environment and how to explore those relationships with love, compassion, and good food. She shows us how changes in agricultural practices have made profound shifts in our relationship to food, plants, animals, and the earth. Changes made in the last 75 years have affected the health of the soil, the availability of minerals, seeds, pollinators, plants, fish, and water compromising every part of the system of life on the planet. And, she also shows us that by enjoying delicious, diverse varieties of food, by saving seeds and eating things that are being lost, like chocolate, we can make the world a better place for all beings. Luckily, Tiny Isle is here to help you do just that!
Eat more chocolate and save the planet. Hey, everyone’s has got to do their part so take one for the team and eat some chocolate today and everyday!
* from a Wall Street Journal article from Nov 25, 2015
** from an email from Simran Sethi sent to previous Tiny Isle owner Katie Ranke