A Top 10 for 2010 and another reason to feel good about eating chocolate

by Terry B on December 22, 2010

A pair of posts on USA Network’s Character Approved Blog: The top 10 food people, trends, books and more, plus a Brooklyn company that takes cocoa from bean to bar in Madagascar.

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Writing for USA Network’s Character Approved Blog has been an exciting opportunity this year. It has given me an excuse to explore all kinds of shiny food-related stories that catch my magpie eye. Just as cool (well, okay, almost as cool) is reading what my fellow writers have to say about art, film, writing and more.

Still, when USA Network asked all of us to come up with top 10 lists for our respective categories, it was something of a daunting challenge, at least to me. How do you decide what and who makes the list and what doesn’t? Speaking for myself, I’d honestly have to say probably somewhat imperfectly. But I had fun doing it. Check out my Top 10 Food List—as well as the Top 10 Lists for architecture, art, design, fashion, film music, social good, technology, theatre and writing—on the USA Character Approved Blog.

Out of Africa: Taking chocolate beyond fair trade

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Starting a business in the best of circumstances can be challenging. Doing so in one of the poorest countries on the planet blows right past challenging. But that’s what Brett Beach and Tim McCollum did after a stint in the Peace Corps in Madagascar. They saw that while 85 percent of the world’s cocoa comes from Africa, less than one percent of the world’s chocolate is made there. So they started Madécasse, a company that takes cocoa from bean to bar in Madagascar. This business model creates four times the income for the local economy than merely buying the cocoa at fair trade prices would. For more about the positive impact these delicious chocolate bars are having on the people on the Big Red Island—including a video and a link to the Madécasse website—check out my post on the USA Character Approved Blog.

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