April is, without question, the embodiment of Spring. At the start of Spring, we all shed our Winter husks as the sun pops out and our senses are awoken by the explosion of life in every tree, backyard and even cityscape. Amidst the hustle and bustle of Springtime we all seem to be a little more in tune with our environment, a little more appreciative and aware of it. Our senses are heightened with the new growth all around us. This, along with the celebration of Earth Day in late April, has inspired this month’s blog. We want to share just one of the great organizations helping us make coffee sustainable for years to come - The Rainforest Alliance.
The Rainforest Alliance organization approaches agriculture in four areas...
First is climate, and how we can utilize nature-based solutions to support a healthy climate.
Second is livelihoods and how responsible businesses can be successful for the planet and people alike.
️ Third is human rights, specifically of the indigenous and rural populations who so often cultivate most of our natural foods, especially coffee.
Lastly is forests, as in protecting these life forces of our ecosystem.
We have destroyed nearly 80% of the world's forests! It's okay, you're not alone in digesting that number. It's alarming! Thankfully, The Rainforest Alliance serves in over 85 countries trying to protect those which remain. The work they do is collective - making sustainable farming and environmental protections a resource rather thana hindrance to communities and small businesses. Everything from bananas and cocoa farming to of course coffee is key to making a real impact. Most mature coffee trees produce the equivalent of one roasted pound of coffee per season. With such small yields the colossal amount of green space used for coffee production has a major impact on the environment not to mention the natural resources like water used to process coffee during the milling stage. Similarly the processing of raw or green coffee when done irresponsibly can cause major contamination of clean water sources.
Rainforest alliance in a nonprofit organization that offers training, certifications and a seal of approval to partnering farmers. This is a more affordable option for small farmers who cannot afford fair-trade organic certification but are still following the guidelines to a more sustainable future for their businesses, their communities and our environment. Rainforest Alliance seals of approval are also great tools for consumers. When we purchase a certified coffee we know we are investing in the future of sustainable coffee. Rainforest Alliance hopes to normalize this type of sustainability investment and better prepare farmers for the hurdles to come in the midst of the climate crisis so we can keep coffee in our cups. Beyond that, it gives us hope that we can and will sustain as much what's left of the beauty and vitality in our world.