Part of our mission here at Breads on Oak is to provide sustainable and cruelty-free food to the people in our community. While no animals are harmed in the production of our food, it is equally important that no human beings are harmed either. That’s why we try our hardest to only use ingredients that are sourced from companies with ethical labor practices and sustainable environmental practices.

The chocolate industry is fraught with unethical labor practices like child labor, abuse towards female workers and working conditions that are near close to slavery. This is combined with destructive agriculture that contributes to the deforestation of our rainforests around the globe. Now that doesn’t square well with us. We use chocolate in many of our pastries, cookies and cakes. That is why we purchase chocolate from organizations that share our same values. The chocolate that we use in our products comes from Luker Chocolates and Cacao Barry. We purchase chocolates from these producers because they are fair-trade and sustainably grown.

But what does Fair-Trade and sustainably grown even mean? Those may just seem like buzzwords, but these companies have promising initiatives to change the chocolate industry.

We purchase our chocolate chips and baking chocolate batons from Cacao Barry. We think they have some pretty great environmental initiatives Cacao Barry promises that their operations will be completely carbon-neutral and deforestation-free by 2025.

“The reality of climate change – deforestation, carbon emissions – is a real threat to the cocoa ecosystem, the lives of farmers and, ultimately, the taste of cacao. The only way to overcome it is to let nature do what it has been doing for millions of years: thrive. A difficult challenge for humanity, which must work to limit its impact in order to allow nature to flourish. By doing so, we will offer the world quality chocolates that will not damage, but will help us maintain a liveable planet for generations to come.”

“By 2025, 3,500 West African farmers will have been trained to ensure sustainable agricultural practices to let nature thrive :

  • Plant forest tree species, timber trees, fruit trees and shrubs as a form of diverse and native tree species.
  • Maintain a buffer zone of native vegetation between the borders of the plantation and water bodies to reduce erosion, limit contamination from pesticides and fertilizers, and protect wildlife habitats.
  • Recognize the importance of shade trees and plant them on the farms where necessary and feasible.
  • Be aware of threatened and endangered wildlife species within their production area and how to protect them and their habitats.
  • Refrain from hunting, fishing or gathering of rare, threatened or endangered species on the farm.
  • Refrain from farming activities in national parks, wildlife refuges, forestry reserves, buffer zones, water bodies and other public or private conservation areas.
  • Refrain from converting High Conservation Value/High Ecological Value/High Carbon Stock areas (forests, grasslands or wetlands) to farmland.
  • To sustainably manage any use of timber or fuel wood by ensuring that use-rate does not exceed growth and replacement-rate.”

(https://www.cacao-barry.com/en-US/chocolate-innovation-know-how/thriving-nature)

Luker Chocolates also shares our sustainable values and vows to work with small cocoa farmers to help lift themselves out of poverty, practice responsible agroforestry and sustain themselves.

At Luker Chocolate, we are committed to small farmers, which is why we have established ourselves as a network of partnerships with over 50 cocoa associations allowing us to guarantee the total purchase of the harvest of each association, helping to create the maximum value possible for the farmers and to benefit over 7500 Colombian families.

Over sixty years ago, we understood that we have to go beyond merely buying cocoa and we decided to train small farmers through Granja Luker, so as to help increase productivity and good agricultural practices in order to improve the income of farming families along with their quality of life.

To do so, we developed an educational model that provides farmers with access to better education resulting from over 100 years of research conducted by Luker Chocolate as well as the expertise of our technicians.

We have also accompanied the national government and worked on illicit crop substitution programmes, offering a legal exit way for over 5000 families that used to make their living from illegal crops and who are now growing cocoa.” (https://www.lukerchocolate.com/en/sustainability/small-farmers/)

We are proud to purchase high-quality and responsibly sourced chocolate from organizations like these. Their delicious chocolate products not only enhance our food, but help us complete our mission of serving ethically-sourced to our local community.

We are also proud to announce that we will now be selling locally-made vegan Piety and Desire Chocolate Bars. These amazing small-batch artisanal chocolate bars are made right here in New Orleans (on South Broad street to be specific). Their chocolate is rich and sourced responsibly from around the globe. We’ll being selling two of their vegan dark chocolate bars, but they have much much more at their store, we highly recommend a visit to it!