He was kind of like Willy Wonka, if Wonka had combined his passion for chocolate with social justice. Or as the headline in Haaretz puts it: "Mott Green, Jewish anarchist chocolatier, dies aged 47." Green was born David Friedman and grew up in Staten Island, but he gave up the idea of a middle-class lifestyle in the US to live in the jungle of Grenada—and then went on to create a sustainable chocolate company with the unprecedented mission of benefiting the locals. Green died after being electrocuted repairing his (solar-powered) cooling equipment, reports Caribbean 360.
Green attended the Ivy League's Penn but dropped out a few months before graduation because he thought a degree would prove corrupting. He "spent several years after college as a kind of master tinkerer, forager and activist among homeless anarchists in Philadelphia," writes William Yardley in the New York Times. He eventually made his way to the Caribbean and settled into a hermit's life in Grenada in a bamboo hut. But then he developed a taste for the local cocoa tea, which led to his exploration of chocolate ... and ultimately to the creation of the Grenada Chocolate Company in 1999. Along the way, "he rewrote the rules of the global chocolate industry by adding all the value at the source and bringing maximum benefit to the local economy, in this case to the people of Grenada whom he loved," writes Aviel Luz in Haaretz. If it sounds like the stuff of movies, it is, in a way. A well-received documentary about his company called Nothing Like Chocolate came out last year. (Read more Mott Green stories.)