Artisanal chocolate shop focuses on education
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Introducing Michael Sacco, the founder of ChocoSol, a learning community/social enterprise that focuses on making the ‘food of the gods’ – commonly known as cacao – into fresh, whole food, stone ground chocolate on an artisanal scale.
1. Let’s start with the basics. Can you briefly describe your business, including when it was founded, what it does, and where you operate?
ChocoSol is a learning community social enterprise. Our challenge is to balance the art of ecological and intercultural research and dialogue, with the making and selling of healthy delicious chocolate foods.
We were founded in 2004 in Ontario, but find our roots in Oaxaca, Mexico, where I was working on a solar concentrator project in partnership with Indigenous learning communities and civil society. Our first ton of cacao and coffee was roasted with pure sunlight – hence our name Choco-SOL. Our kitchen is located in Toronto and we sell directly to customers at a number of local farmers’ markets and special events, and are also available at health food stores and food co-ops throughout Ontario.
2. What inspired you to be an entrepreneur and to branch out on your own with this idea?
First of all, I think of myself as an eco-preneur. It is as much about creating a seventh generation ecological vision for future children as it is about re-connecting to the soil cultures of yesterday, while balancing this with making a dignified living. The two factors of learning and earning must be held together holistically. What inspired me to branch out as a social enterprise was the need to be self-sufficient and not depend upon funding to live the life I love.