Shade grown cacao, like shade grown coffee and tea are grown under a canopy of rain forest trees.
The large trees provide the habitat for migrating birds and make it an ecologically friendly environment. Another very important function of these large trees is to make the sub floor, or the ground, covered with organic matter, which is very conducive to insects called midges, which are the sole pollinators of the cacao flowers. Only 1 to 3% of cacao flowers produce cacao fruit, or pods. Without shade trees and midges that thrive on them, the production of cacao pods has been found to dwindle to a fraction of this.