In our two previous entries we have looked at some more in depth information about the coffee tree and plantations.
It would however be remiss to discuss the growing of coffee and fail to address both the conditions for the farmers and the effects intensive agricultural practices have on the environment, and our favorite beverage too...
With coffee production and consumption at unprecedented levels, it is no wonder that many people around the world are a bit alarmed about the demands this trend is putting on both the growers and the environment. Central America and Mexico today, account for over 15 percent of the world’s Arabica production, and are forecast to increase production with some countries like Honduras, forecast to break records this year. In our continent however Brazil seems to be the outstanding performer, in terms of production for yet another year. The output of Brazilian grown coffee is set to rise to a 43.9 million bags mainly due to exceptionally good growing conditions between September and November 2015 and other fateful acts of weather.
Other countries around the globe are also continuing their attempts to increase yields however results in terms of production, especially in Africa, have been mixed in the previous year.
What does this mean?
The simple fact is that America consumes coffee from just about every country that produces it anywhere in the world. We have a near insatiable appetite for coffee and are willing to invest in partnerships around the world to service it. Having said that not all companies take into account the real cost or implications of growing the beans for our favorite beverage. Major retailers as well as the U.S. Government have in the past been criticized about their attitude towards growers, especially in the developing world and the way in which they have handled trade agreements in the past. For that reason, in recent years the U.S. has granted financial assistance around the globe through USDA's foreign agricultural service.
What is organic coffee?
The word organic, is a certification awarded to retail products in the United States that conform to certain standards. In the instance of coffee and all other edible products the certification is awarded by the United States Department of Agriculture. The standards for being awarded the "USDA Organic" seal vary slightly however generally mean that food is produced without the use of pesticides or fertilizers, food is produced without bioengineering or growth hormones and finally that food is produced by means of sustainable practices.
Farmers who want to be certified have to go through very strict standards and inspections by USDA (via third party agents) before they can label their products as organic for the US market.
What is FairTrade?
Fair Trade Certified™ products come from cooperatives, independent small farmers, and farm workers around the globe. The foundation is a charitable organization that helps farmers around the globe not only grow their products but also bring them to the market in a way that enables communities to earn a fair price for their labor.
Through their work the Fair Trade foundation seeks to empower farmers around the world and help pull people away from poverty. According to their mission statement, the funds they provide communities with "are specifically designated for economic and environmental development projects".
Love My Cup coffees are made from high quality fair trade arabica beans, roasted and packaged right here in Texas. Unlike many of our "big name brand" rivals we are not in the business of sacrificing quality or our values on the altar of profit. We believe that coffee producers around the globe should be making a fair amount of money for a days work. We also believe that by supporting various programs around the globe that help farmers earn a sustainable living and decent wages is a clever move because it ensures an ever ending supply of our favorite drink. To learn more about our intentions and work in this area you need to subscribe to our mailing list using the form above.
On our next entry, we will look more closely at how farmers are helped around the globe and especially in developing countries. Join us on our journey by subscribing to our blog or by sharing this post on social!