How did you first get involved in the green industry?
When beginning chocolates and researching and locating the best chocolate and supplier origins, learning about sustainability and fair-trade practices, looking at how my facility is run and not ever using harmful cleaners or appliances and making sure chocolates are made in the best possible way at every step of the way. I also recently created custom-made eco-friendly, fully sustainable packaging made for my luxury chocolate bar line. It is a never-ending quest. I see how much more I can keep contributing and doing better.
What interests you most about being green?
It is all about loving yourself, respecting other life and protecting Mother Earth. It is amazing all the resources we have that surround us, but we must cherish and protect all we use so we can give back and so it can be replenished in the most healthy, natural way without the use of harmful chemicals or substances that destroy our environment and cause diseases within animals and humans. It is knowing what we have been given here is a blessing for all of us and an honor; it is not something entitled to us to destroy for our own selfish purposes. So many people want to get their fix, to get what they think they deserve, they just take and live recklessly. That is not living green. It is about enjoying life in its purest form and getting back to the basics of living more simple for ourselves and for others. It helps protect Mother Earth while we use her resources, enjoy it and the smell of fresh air and beauty, and be cognizant of assisting to replenish and nurture to grow more resources in its place as a thank you.
What is your biggest “green” pet peeve?
When businesses clearly are jumping on the bandwagon and greenwashing just for the sake of their own profit as a marketing ploy to sell products but really don’t care. No business is perfect, but it is the actions and improvements we take accountability for ourselves and to be given to others that speak milestones and makes a true positive difference in lives and our planet. I see so many businesses market their products around a “purpose” that will fit well in with the trends to make it look like their products are healthier or less harmful, but read the ingredients and it speaks for itself. And, consumers then get confused and then outraged when they feel like they have been had.
Or, the organic labeling. There is so-called organic fillers and even organic, should I say, manure, but it does not mean this is good to feed your own body. Organic labeling laws even allow for some harmful chemicals to be allowed over our crops. This is just not right. People rely on food manufacturers and it is time for us to make a great change in what we make for people to eat. Trust is earned and not to be used.
I make most of my foods homemade in my kitchen and have an organic garden. My chocolates are an extension of myself and I only want to give my best. I started out with a true inspiration and purpose to help others and make this world a little better through my chocolates… not the other way around. But as long as we and our businesses continually strives to improve and really care about what is going in and out of their business to improve the quality of air, water and land, caring to eliminate poisonous pesticides from their farms, not sending cows to be killed off after a dairy farm got all the organic milk it wanted from them, being aware to reduce and eliminate toxins from the business in every possible way and to not use harmful chemical cleaners, try to avoid microwaves to eliminate nutrients from being killed from otherwise nutrient-rich foods, we can help maintain and improve our beautiful world and feed our bodies the best as this is our temple to cherish.
I feel and am so cognizant that what we all choose to do, how you choose to live, how you choose to care or not care, makes such a great impact for someone else as whatever we choose does impact others and not just ourselves. We are here together, whether people recognize this or not, to help each other and to better ourselves.
What green trend is most exciting to you or your industry?
I believe the Rainforest Alliance and getting certified is a great movement to help protect the integrity of our resources and environment and for fair-trade wages. Also, consumers caring what they are putting into their bodies more than ever, as I love to explain the quality of my chocolate I use and its origin along with the eco-friendly, fully sustainable packaging that you can give back as a gift letter/envelope to someone else or use for storing something else or for compost. I love to see people caring and wanting to know how they can help make a difference in their own personal choices in everyday living.
January 14, 2015
All-natural, great-tasting chocolate is part of the mission of Illinois-based Darlena Artisan Chocolates.