Relocating from Oregon to Grenada in 1998, headstrong and driven, Mott Green set out to make chocolate, from the tree to the bar, using recycled antique equipment. Wondering "would we really learn how to make great chocolate?", the neophyte entrepreneur leased 100 acres of land from a neighboring estate and established the Grenada Organic Chocolate Co-operative.
Within 5 years, the co-operative was producing 9 to 10 tons of local organic chocolate. Nothing Like Chocolate looks at this revolutionary experiment, focusing on how solar power, appropriate technology and activism merge to create a business whose values are fairness, community, sustainability and high quality. While Hersheys threatens to remove cocoa from chocolate, and can not guarantee slave-free cocoa in its chocolate, it is Mott Green and his friends, including calypso singer and lawyer Akima Paul, and Shadelle Nayack Compton, owner of the Belmont Estate, who defy all the odds. They insist that this worker co-operative is the model for the future: “We’re doing this for idealistic reasons: we are activists and our goal is to create a true worker-owned co-operative."
Nothing Like Chocolate traces the continued growth of Mott’s co-operative, exposing the practices and politics of how chocolate has moved worldwide from a sacred plant to corporate blasphemy. Governments around the world, beholden to multi-nationals, sell cocoa for export at the best possible price. Industrial chocolate dominates taste buds and the market. Threatened by boutique producers, such as Grenada Chocolate Company, mega-companies work hard to buy up these small artisans, as Hersheys has done with Scharffenberger.
Confronted by the financial challenges of small-scale farming, Mott Green envisions a unique niche for exquisite organic chocolate in the global market, whose profits will come back to nourish the working shareholders.
With a suitcase full of chocolate bars, Mott boards a plane to persuade chocolate distributors in the UK and the USA that Grenada Chocolate Company makes the best chocolate in the world. 65,000 chocolate bars in stylish new packaging, stashed in air-conditioned storage, await their destiny.
How successful will this bold experiment be? The Grenada Chocolate Company produces less than 1% of the world’s chocolate, while at least 43% of cocoa beans come from Ivory Coast, where trafficked child labour is exploited to harvest cocoa. In the chocolate industry, Mott’s way of doing things – delicious chocolate, organics co-operatives, employment for local communities – is unusual.
From currency to candy, chocolate reflects a rich history saturated with sacred ritual, endorphin highs, hip anti-oxidants, exotic sensuality and high quality luxury. Nothing Like Chocolate adds new depth to the stories of chocolate.