Friday, October 28, 2011


This week at Toki's school a notice came home saying the school was going to be selling chocolate bars for their yearly fundraiser. Since Toki was born I have been thinking about this day, not constantly, not fretfully, just every now and then, when I see a child with a box of these chocolates, I think, Shesh, that is going to be tricky. The chocolates aren't vegan, which is fine, we don't expect the whole world to change for us, but they are also made by a company who uses non-sustainable palm oil and won't confirm that child labour isn't used to produce the cocoa it imports to make the chocolate. Also, the school has a healthy food policy, so, ironically, the children can sell the chocolates anywhere except on school property. Each child is expected to take $60 worth of chocolate and there is a competition to see which class sells the most chocolate. Some families have four and five kids at our school and one mother complained that in her street there are about 50 houses and at least 10 of those have students from our school living in them. It's fraught.

The day the notice came home an email and Facebook discussion started among some of the parents who were not keen to sell the chocolate and now there are quite a few kids in Toki's class who aren't selling the chocolates. Still, it has been quite hard on Toki. There is a lot of pressure for her class to 'win the prize' and yeah, I can really relate to how hard that sort of thing can be. This week felt like one of those moments when I feel like my beliefs make her life hard. It made me feel really grateful for the community we have. We are able to say to Toki, 'Yeah, some people are selling the chocolates because they believe in what they believe in and we're not selling the chocolates because we believe in what we believe in. There's plenty of room at school for everyone.' But it made the whole thing a lot easier to be able also say, 'M. isn't selling the chocolates either, or E. or M. and L.'

Political trickiness aside, we really wanted to give the school some money and Toki really likes selling. No, really, when we do the Xmas tree fundraiser every year she is right there, showing people the best trees, talking the talk - she is a born salesperson. So we are going to sell some chocolate - some vegan chocolate! Our options are huge.

Trade Aid offer an amazing fundraising scheme using their fair trade chocolate. The dark chocolate in this range is vegan and delicious, according to Brent and Toki. We probably won't be able to take advantage of this fundraising deal because its just the one of us but we may use Fairtrade Chocolate to sell.

Then there is the wonderfully stupendous Whittakers range. I am pretty sure that one day God thought, 'Hm, those vegans deserve a break, I'm going to invent Whittakers!'

Whittakers is a New Zealand family-owned company who makes its chocolate in Porirua, about a thirty minute drive from where we live. Whittakers uses Fair trade Cocoa beans and butter from the largest cooperative in Ghana called Kuapa Kokoo. Fair trade sugar comes from a cooperative in Costa Rica called CoopeAgri R.L.

And the make the following vegan chocolate blocks: Dark Ghana, Dark Chocolate, Dark Orange, Dark Cacao, Ghana Peppermint, Dark Almond, Dark Mocha, Rum and Raisin. They also make dark chocolate peanust slabs and these skinny wee bars called Sante bars.

I think what we will probably do is go to Moore Wilsons, which is a local wholesaler open to the public and buy us some Sante bars which Toki can sell to her family and then we will donate the money she makes. It won't be counted for the competition but it will help the school out and that seems like the main thing.

Image: Licensed under Creative Commons by Flickr user sapheron - thank you!


  1. I just want to like this post since I am addicted to social media forms of saying you dig something.

  2. It's really sad that they won't allow Talullah's total to be included with the class total, simply because you want to sell an ethical product. But man, I'm proud of you guys for sticking to your principles.

  3. P.s. thanks for covering vegan convenience food in your blog. I'm always on the look out for new options. While I try to make most food by hand, sometimes I get stuck for time. I don't know if they have them in NZ, but in Australia there's an awesome brand called "Tasty bite" ( They make a really yummy chickpea and potato curry, and a really nice muchroom curry, both which are vegan. They're about $3.50 each, don't have to be stored in the fridge, so are awesome for taking to work for lunch. The best thing about them is that they have no additives, no preservatives, and have all natural ingredients.

  4. I love how you and Brent work hard to find solutions to things like this for Toki. I'm guilty of just saying 'No, we're not doing that' to the kids and not really finding an alternative. You guys are amazing parents! x Helen