Cacao: The Sacred History of Chocolate – Nisao Ogata Ph.D

Ancient cacao ceremonies were used at religious ceremonies, marriage ceremonies, during both birth and baptism, and most other important ceremonies for the ancient Native Mesoamerican cultures.

Nisao Ogata’s field work and research in the rain forests of the Americas, in ethnobotany, systematics, biodiversity, conservation biology, diversified agroforestry systems focuses on cacao. Before chocolate became a favorite elixir around the world, the cacao tree has a 3,000 year history, revered, grown, and used in sacred ceremony by the ancient Olmec and Maya. Nisao’s ethnobotany work with modern-day Maya, as well as Mazatec, Chinantec, Nahuatl, Totonac, Tepehuas & Mixe-Zoque, Jibaro-Achual, Kichwa, and Huaorani groups, brings lessons not just in sustainability and cultivation, but cultural traditions and community that we can use today.

A Fulbright scholar, Nisao Ogata is a Full Professor at the Centro de Investigaciones Tropicales (CITRO) in the University of Veracruz, in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico, and a member of the agroforestry system network of the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) of the federal government of Mexico, where he consults for the national “Sembrando Vida” program and its goal of transforming 1 million hectares of depleted grasslands lands into agroforestry systems