In York’s relationship with chocolate there is a great deal to celebrate. There is also much to lament, and much to resolve. A week-long festival organised by the Centre for Applied Human Rights commencing this Saturday (September 28th) seeks to achieve all of the above, also aiming to provide a fascinating educational experience and forum for debate for all comers.
From Terry’s Chocolate Oranges to Rowntree’s KitKats, Craven’s sweets to Cocoa House specialities, York and the confectionery industry continue to enjoy a rich and delectable, centuries-old tie, which has pasted chocolatey grins over the faces of millions around the world whilst funnelling millions of pounds into the bank accounts of a long line of confectionery big-wigs and share-holders.
Few would contest the quality of the chocolate products made in York over the years – the panoply of sweet sensations that have tumbled off the factory belts of this city possess the power to please practically any palate. The industry has also done a great deal of good in the local community, providing employment for thousands of workers and enriching society; even protecting it, in the case of philanthropist chocolatiers including one Joseph Rowntree.
Unfortunately, there is also a decidedly bitterer side to the past, present and foreseeable future of York’s love affair with chocolate. In eastern Europe, chocolate factory workers have at times worked for a pittance, and cocoa farmers in producer countries have toiled for less still. The grim reality is that the delicious flavours of the confectionery our city and nation so adore are often borne to us upon a tide of blood, sweat and tears. The manufacturing process which delivers luxury to the consumer in York can directly cause those at the other end of the interaction to be left gravely in want.
The various successes, failings, inequalities, injustices, triumphs and travails of the chocolate industry, both local and global will be explored vigorously and vibrantly in the Chocolate and Human Rights Festival programme of events, which was put together through the efforts of a team of Centre for Applied Human Rights students led by local campaigner Harkirit Boparai. The festival will include a broad range of events, including a debate on the topic ‘How Fair is Fair Trade?’, a film screening at City Screen and much else besides.
For full event details, click here or see below: