By India John
I was ﬁrst introduced to Kallari chocolate fall semester of my ﬁrst year at Beloit College. Alumna Judy Logback ’95 came to speak to my botany class, and I was blown away by her presence and drive as she spoke about the cooperative she started in Ecuador just two years after graduating. Logback spoke to us about having gone to Ecuador and feeling passionate about trying to help stop the rapid deforestation. She quickly came to realize that to help stop deforestation, an alternative way of earning enough income to support a family would have to be provided. And so the Kallari Association was born.
Kallari is an association of artists and organic cocoa farmers. They sell handmade, sustainable jewelry made of all-organic materials from the Amazon rainforest and chocolate from organic cocoa grown in the heart of the Amazon in Ecuador. The producers are in control of the entire creation process, from planting the cocoa seeds, to harvesting and making the chocolate to marketing. The growers keep 100 percent of proﬁts, which allows them to earn a sustainable income, while also granting them more personal power over their jobs and their lives.
In 2002, Gillian Batterman, then-director of academic advising, traveled to Ecuador with her family, and met with Logback to learn more about Kallari. Upon seeing the products and learning more about them, she decided that they should be available at Logback’s alma mater. Since that trip to Quito, Batterman has been coordinating the sale of Kallari goods twice a year on campus. A good year in sales at Beloit has earned up to $1,300, enough to provide a families’ yearly income.
Hearing Logback recount her story about how Kallari has grown since 2002 was one of the most powerful lectures I have ever heard on this campus. I was not only astounded by her initiative and persistence, but also the ingenuity of making chocolate to save the rainforest. According to Batterman, Kallari is looking to expand their products to include sawn hardwood. By creating an opportunity for workers in Ecuador to complete the entire process and resulting in a ﬁnished product to sell, more income will be earned for less wood sold abroad.
Kallari goods will be sold this coming week, Monday-Wednesday in DK’s and the mail center from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be organic chocolate bars made of 75 percent cocoa for sale in addition to sustainably-made jewelry. This jewelry is made from natural products, such as sustainably gathered seeds, nuts, and hand woven thread. And it is not just for the ladies; this jungle bling looks great on guys as well. The chocolate bars and jewelry make wonderful, Beloit-centric gifts, all at aﬀordable prices ranging from three to 20 dollars.
Come by and do your part to support a Beloit alumna and spread the Kallari story. Save the Amazon while you’re at it.