Posts by Kelsey

Craft Chocolate Sourced and Produced in Africa Fairly and Directly

Some African cocoa farmers have never eaten chocolate even though the continent supplies more than half of the world’s cocoa.

Cocoa is a commodity, one of the world’s most volatile, and the quality of the farmers’ lives rise and fall with the cocoa prices. The money isn’t in the growing of cocoa, but in the processing of the cocoa into chocolate, the packaging, and the selling of the chocolate. This typically happens far from African soil. Hence you have cocoa farmers who’ve never tasted chocolate, and others like the ones I ate Hershey’s Kisses with in Ivory Coast who rarely do.

But one company, Madécasse, is challenging that model. Of the 500 chocolate brands in the U.S., Madécasse is the only one…

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I Took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in my Anti-Fart Underwear

Harper is totally going to need therapy!

I’ve never known someone who died from ALS, nor was I fully aware of how scary the disease was until the challenge. So as silly as this challenge seems, it raised my awareness.

Is it a sustainable way to raise funds or even replicable? Probably not. But it’s fun and important, and even my own parents accepted the challenge. OnPoint explored the viral campaign on a show titled “Stunt Philanthropy in the Age of Social Media.” If you’ve criticized or defended the Ice Bucket Challenge, you should listen to this show:

And of course, I hope you’ll join Harper and me in donating to the ALS Association at www.alsa.org….

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Places I’ll be telling stories: Iowa, Minnesota, Florida, Indiana, South Carolina, California, Illinois, Texas and beyond


(I love this photo by Gail Werner of Gail Werner photography because it looks like I’m about to tell someone to F@#K off! For the record: I wasn’t.)

Have we met? Here’s my speaking schedule (as of 8/13). If I’m at a city near you, let’s grab a coffee or beer or come hear me speak. I’ll bring the novelty underwear and the banana. Wait? That doesn’t sound good. I mean that in the least sexual way as possible.

Seriously though, during these events I’m telling all sorts of stories, which I love to do. But do you know what I love to do more? I love to hear stories. I like to shut up and listen. It’s probably one of the…

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Love chocolate? You’ll love this Live Hangout @2:30 ET

Tim McCollum, a former Peace Corps volunteer, is the CEO of Madecasse, a Brooklyn-based chocolate company that sources cocoa and manufacturers chocolate entirely in Madagascar. Tim joins me LIVE on Google Hangouts to discuss the African cocoa industry’s challenges and potential. Join us! Ask a question!

Here’s a promo video from Madecasse:

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How to Talk About Suicide

In 2010 I traveled to Ireland to research suicides. The gap between the loveliness of the people and grimness of my topic was wider than the Atlantic. I had the world’s worst response to: “Welcome to Ireland! What brings you here?”

I’ve carried a lot of stories over the past twelve years I’ve been writing, but few have been as heavy as those stories from Ireland. They have been even heavier because the book never came into existence, and I’m not sure where you publish such stories. So for the first time, I’m sharing them on this blog and on the blog of the Facing Project.

I’m not an expert on suicides. I’ve never been personally touch by suicide. So one of the…

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Review WHERE AM I EATING and get goodies!

Would you help share the stories of the farmers and fishermen who catch pick and grow our food? What if there was bacon and chocolate on the line? That’s right…BACON, chocolate, and some other goodies.

The paperback of WHERE AM I EATING? is coming out in about one month. I’m pumped for the stories of the farmers I met on my global farming adventure to spread even more. About 80% of the folks who read my first book, read the paperback. So a big push on the the paperback is really important.

If you’ve read EATING, now would be a great time to share what you thought of it by writing a short review on Amazon, Goodreads, or any other review site  or blog of…

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Unfortunately Ugly Produce Wins Hearts of French Consumers

Supermarkets checkout lines are filled with magazine covers of photoshopped, liposucked, and unnaturally enhanced specimens of biology and reality. But the unrealistic expectations in our supermarkets don’t  end there.

We like ‘em big, round, smooth, and shiny. And of course now I’m talking about fruits and vegetables.

I love big beets and I cannot lie

 

Forty percent of food in the United States goes uneaten. This includes ugly fruits and lumpy vegetables. The cost to transporting food to our tables accounts for 10 percent of the U.S. energy budget, uses half of our land and 80 percent of the freshwater consumed. Yet, if a potato has an extra lump or an orange a strange phalange, they get tossed without a second thought.

More than 20 pounds of food per person is tossed every…

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Cocoa Farmers Who’ve Never Tasted Chocolate – GASP!

The above video of cocoa farmers in Ivory Coast tasting chocolate for the first time has been making its rounds, and, in fact, has  been pointed out to me about eleventy thousand times already. (Seriously, thanks for thinking of me folks; I’m not complaining.)

Like the reporter in the video, I traveled to Ivory Coast to meet farmers and lugged along some chocolate. I assumed they had never eaten chocolate too and that I would blow their taste buds with Hershey bars and Hershey kisses.

I assumed wrong.

Here’s a video from my own experience followed by an excerpt from Where Am I Eating? An Adventure Through the Global Food Economy:

In much of the reporting on Ivorian chocolate, a reporter asks if…

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Gay Married in Indiana for 7 hours

Last week I attended a wedding  wearing a sweat-soaked T-shirt with a winking turd on it.  However, my apparel was unremarkable compared to the event itself: Two men in Indiana were getting legally married.

Same-sex marriage was was made legal by a court ruling on June 25th by Judge Richard L. Young.  On June 27th, my good friend J.R. Jamison was marrying his husband Cory.  They’ve actually been married longer than Annie and I have, but they wanted to make it official in the eyes of the State of Indiana and the federal government. Like many same-sex couples, they rushed to get married, fearing an emergency stay would be put in place by Indiana’s attorney general. 

It wasn’t my intention to…

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John Oliver’s takedown of Dr. Oz is awesome

In WHERE AM I EATING? I came to Dr. Oz’s defense, but that doesn’t mean I’m a supporter of his. Dr. Oz pointed out that imported apple juice (2/3rds of which is from China) had high levels of arsenic. He was blasted because arsenic is natural in apples, but later vindicated by a Consumer Reports study that found high levels of inorganic arsenic from pesticides present in apple juice.

Dr. Oz for the win!

But as Oliver, points out, Dr. Oz is in the business of giving people what they want — magic pills and magic beans. And his snake oil salesman routine landed him in a congressional hearing.

Are you watching John Oliver’s new show Last Week Tonight?

We don’t get HBO,…

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