Most people enjoy chocolate treats made from the fruit of the cacao (ka-kow) plant. The ancient Mayans considered cacao to be medicinal, used it as currency and revered it as "food of the gods". Mayan families still use a traditional drink made from cacao for special times such as corn planting or for ceremonies and celebrations. S.H.A.R.E. recently funded 1,800 grafted plants of this fruit for orchards in six Q’eqchi Mayan producers in Guatemala. The producers will be trained and assisted by S.H.A.R.E.’s local indigenous partner to prune and care for the plants and market their cacao production. By working with a local grassroots partner, S.H.A.R.E. is able to support this project that aligns with local customs and needs.
Photos: Planting cacao trees; a good harvest of cacao pods; the seeds (beans) and pulp in a pod; roasting the beans; grinding beans on the traditional stone to make a paste; cacao drink.