Moksha is the husband and wife team of Jennifer, a world traveler, and Michael Caines, a horticulturalist. Their endeavor into chocolate started in 2013, when Michael, an Australian transplant, grew tired of his foray into IT and longed to return to food and farming. When given the opportunity to visit and purchase a cocoa farm in Peru, Michael knew this was his chance to get his hands dirty again. But there was one problem — the local cocoa farm’s profits were not making their way back to the community. Michael set out to ensure that the farmers were paid more than market value, in order to improve the local economy and to utilize traditional growing practices to yield a high-quality cacao bean.

Inspired by the name of the nearby town — Shanao, meaning “New You” — Michael and Jennifer established the Shanao Cacao Collective: a non-profit co-op based on a new model of growth and commerce known as “regenerative trade.” Regenerative trade allows farmers to be paid directly for their cocoa beans. Not only is the middleman cut out, but Michael and Jennifer are able to pay their co-op members more than the market value of their crop, with farmers currently making 50% over the market value of cacao and rising. As was Michael’s original vision, a portion of sales profits goes directly into continuing to improve farming practices.


photo credit: Moksha Chocolates