I’m sitting here on this gorgeous Saturday morning taking my first couple sips of hot coffee. If you’re a coffee lover like me, you know that bliss. There’s nothing like the smell and taste of hot coffee on a Saturday morning. But I had to travel all the way to Whole Foods in order to get organic, fair trade coffee grounds. [This weekend I am house sitting Taylor’s parents house and they do not have organic coffee. So yes, I traveled all the way to Whole Foods just to get some.]
After being a loyal customer to Grounds for Change for almost two years now, it’s difficult to accept anything less. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean I won’t have some Starbucks or something else once in a while (by the way today I purchased Allegro’s organic fair trade coffee from Whole Foods: this flavor). But I’m really passionate about supporting organic, fair trade, shade grown, and carbon free coffee. What makes the difference between the quality of coffee depends on it’s production and growing process; literally before it reaches your cup is what matters the most.
Grounds for Change is a sustainable business, and when food production is sustainable, it “preserves the land’s capacity to grow and nourish food into the future. Sustainable agriculture does not damage the environment or harm human health, and offers a safe work environment and a fair wage to the farmer, supporting and enhancing rural life. Because sustainable farmers see nature as an ally rather an obstacle, they are able to produce more wholesome food using less fossil fuel, thus contributing less to climate change. Unlike industrial farming, sustainable farming does not rely on synthetic pesticides, artificial hormones, or routine use of antibiotics.”1
What contributes to their sustainability is producing coffee that is fair trade and organic certified, carbon free, and shade grown.
Fair trade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), fair trade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers, and enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.2
Certified organic coffee is grown by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality. Grounds for Change coffee is grown without the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, thereby assuring the health of the soil, the forest and the farmers.3
Shade grown: Traditionally, coffee was shade-grown on biodiverse farms, which preserved animal and bird habitats, but the demand for coffee has fueled the creation of “sun grown” monoculture plantations, which means a number of bad things for the environment, including clear cutting of native forests and intensive fertilizer and pesticide use.4 In addition, Rainforest Alliance certification is focused on the ecological effects of coffee-growing – their major goals are protection of biodiversity and stopping deforestation.
Carbon free certified: Grounds for Change utilizes Carbonfund.org’s reforestation program to offset the complete carbon dioxide footprint of their coffee production.
Overall, I urge you to look beyond just taste when you decide on a coffee brand. I discovered Grounds for Change when I started making French Press coffee at home and sought out organic coffee. But this company goes beyond organic; I fell in love with their philosophy and became a dedicated customer immediately. If you are currently purchasing a conventional brand, please reconsider! As you can see, your purchasing decisions have an impact on the Earth & environment, our health, and farmers around the world. You’re supporting so many awesome things when you purchase sustainable coffee. If you want to switch up your coffee brand, your best bet is to research and look into the coffee brand online so you can read about their philosophy and production practices. Then you can make an informed purchasing decision. [Hint: look for brands who really emphasize their sustainable practices!] Although some small farmers are simply not financially capable of the certification labels, consider purchasing a coffee brand that has the certifications listed in this article.
Note: I was not asked to write this post and I am not being paid for it either. This post is out of sincere loyalty to Grounds for Change + all other coffee producers who support sustainable practices. 🙂