Since 1983 our mission has been to source sustainable coffees from small farms, promote ethical and ecologically responsible agriculture projects, and to provide coffees that cross social and economic boundaries. These are the three guidelines we apply when searching for the best sustainable coffees around the world.
Doing so allows us to aid three major facets of our industry: The People, The Farms and The Future. With those guidelines in place, we can consciously create a better industry environment where people are better cared for, land can remain healthy and fertile, and a more transparent and safe future can be cultivated.
What Is Sustainable Coffee?
A coffee is considered sustainable when it is grown in a way that conserves nature and provides better livelihoods for the people who grow and process it. This umbrella term includes certified organic, shade grown and Rainforest Alliance certified and Farm direct coffees.
How Does Sustainable Coffee Help the People?
Over 125 million farmers and laborers rely on coffee to make a living. Sustainable coffee comes from farms and co-ops that practice fair labor practices. This combats laborer exploitation in increasingly volatile markets that encourage the lowest possible prices. In the pursuit of creating the cheapest product, some producers under pay and over-work laborers; or resort to child labor.
Fair labor practices protect the people and families that depend on fair wages and working conditions to survive, ensuring the coffee was grown and processed in an ethical manner. Families working on the farms are also provided health care and education. These opportunities help foster a healthier and better equipped future for those living in the community.
How Does Sustainable Coffee Help the Farms?
Coffee only grows between the tropics where most of the world’s rain forests are. The easiest way for farmers to expand plantations is deforestation which destroys wildlife habitats, results in biodiversity loss, disrupts the water cycle and causes soil erosion. Eventually if the land is not rejuvenated, there is a risk of desertification that will completely transform the land. Shade grown coffee combats the negative effects of deforestation by keeping the rain forest intact. Coffee is grown in the forest under a canopy of trees where they can thrive. Retaining the rain forest canopy prevents a significantly less amount of surface water run-off, resulting in less erosion. This greatly decreases the loss of wildlife and lowers the risk of disrupting natural water cycles.
This method also yields superior quality beans that require little to no chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. Farmers are often pressured to use chemical advantages to protect their crops. Increasingly competitive markets creates a sense of urgency as their family depends on each harvest. Unfortunately these chemical agents can severely damage the ecosystem. Sustainable coffee helps to eliminate the usage of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides with certified organic options.
How does Sustainable Coffee help the Future of Coffee Production?
Coffee is the most traded tropical agriculture product with demand increasing each year. It is vital to the future of coffee that the market move towards the goal of complete sustainability. Without a healthy environment to produce it or a dependable labor force to grow and process it, prices will skyrocket as coffee becomes a rare commodity.
Current methods of farming sun-grown coffee destroys the environment at too rapid of a rate, and encourages unjust business practices that prey on laborers and their families. Sustainable coffee improves yields by providing farmers with resources to better maintain the land. Advanced pruning techniques and more ecologically friendly fertilizer methods help maintain a high quality product while still protecting the land. All of these positive improvements move us closer to creating a better future for both the farmers and the environment.
Our Sustainable Coffee
Our selection of USDA organic, Rainforest Alliance certified and Farm Direct coffees are a great example of some sustainably produced coffees we offer. Shop our store below to support a better future for coffee, from their farms to your cup.
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