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Sunday, November 12 • 11:00am - 12:00pm
Chocolate Stories: Voices from Nicaragua

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The stories we tell about our food are some of the most important, pervasive, and oldest, as demonstrated by the countless mythical origin stories for culturally sacred foods, of which chocolate is one. Stories are central processes we use to give our lives meaning, and they can often have practical applications as they help us make decision for how best to nourish or heal our bodies.

These stories are increasingly becoming part of how foods like chocolate are marketed. The inside of the wrapper on your chocolate bar may tell you a story of the farmer who sourced the cacao that went into your bar, the social issues at the cacao's origins, the endangered species that will be protected by a portion of this bar's profits, or the craft chocolatier who is rediscovering or innovating the techniques for making artisan chocolate. More often than not, these stories are being told about the people at origin, rather than by those people; their voices are rarely heard, even if their images may appear on a wrapper.

Historias de Cacao/Cacao Stories, a Real Food Stories project focused on cacao and chocolate in Nicaragua, aims to change this by collecting stories from people in Nicaragua involved in various aspects of the chocolate and cacao industry, from farmers producing some of the fines cacao in the country, to cooperative producers struggling to find a market; From the middle men selling bulk cacao in the rural backwaters, to the major exporters drying and processing cacao for the international market; From the indigenous groups using cacao to fight for land rights, to the coffee plantations owners switching to cacao in the face of climate change; And from the small producer of traditional Nicaraguan cacao drinks, to the fine chocolate start up. Historias de Cacao/Cacao Stories is an emerging digital archive of first person short stories that together create a mosaic of Nicaraguan Cacao, helping those outside of Nicaragua connect more directly with this fine chocolate origin.

This presentation will be a multimedia interactive presentation: a mix of video (the stories recorded as part of the project), speaker presentation (with pictures) and audience questions. The aim is both to introduce the project itself, and provide an opportunity to more directly experience the stories of cacao/chocolate in Nicaragua. You will walk away with not only a more direct sense of some of what is happening in Nicaragua--the Nicaraguan cacao/chocolate story--but a more critical lens for how to evaluate the food stories they experience on a daily basis.

This project, a partnership between Aaron Dickinson Sachs and John Drew, was made possible by grant funding from Adelphi University and Saint Mary's College of California.

avatar for Aaron Dickinson Sachs

Aaron Dickinson Sachs

Association Professor of Media Technologies and Culture, Saint Mary's College of California

Sunday November 12, 2017 11:00am - 12:00pm PST
Smith Cove Cruise Terminal Pier 91 Seattle 2001 W. Garfield Street, Seattle WA 98119

Attendees (6)