Urban Gardens and Chocolate: John & Kira’s

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

John & Kira’s is a unique fine chocolate company. Most companies, when considering where to source their mint for a high-end signature flavor, would not immediately say, “I know! Let’s grow it in the inner city. With kids.”

But that’s exactly what Philadelphia-based John and Kira did with Project MintPatch.

The couple put part of their profits in 2005 towards starting an urban garden in Philadelphia with kids from an elementary school. Much of the fresh mint for their chocolate is grown there. A second garden is in the works, with space to teach their students and the community about gardens for food and biodiversity and to instill an appreciation of nature. These gardens also provide safe, supportive after-school spaces and, through grants and sales of their crops, offers paying jobs for some of the students.

These projects fit John & Kira’s philosophy very well; in fact, all of their signature flavors are tied closely to a small farmer or collective in some way. Here’s a taste:

Glenn’s Rasberry – Grown on a small farm in the Lancaster Amish area of Pennsylvania.

Mut Vitz Coffee Whiskey – They’re working with small farmers in Chiapas, Mexico, and paying them a fair wage for their coffee beans.

Lavender Honey – Made with honey from a local West Philadelphia apiary.

Other flavors include fresh ginger, strawberry, and lemongrass.

The company wants people to first is to take pleasure in the delicious chocolate but also to have an opportunity to connect with the farmers and growers that create their flavors. If you’re buying chocolate this Valentine’s Day for someone special, keep them in mind.

We also happen to like the very pretty wood boxes their chocolates come in, and we love the fact that they say to eat the chocolate within two weeks. Fresh, well-made chocolate is indeed highly perishable, and this demonstrates that they are making fine stuff, without preservatives.