Sunday, November 8, 2015

Attention All Coffee Drinkers!

Keep an eye you for this symbol when buying coffee.

There are two species of Coffee plants in the world that are farmed. One grows in the shade of tropical rain forest trees and the amazing diversity that entails. Roughly 700 tree species in one square mile! The other grows in Sun and requires the rain forest be cleared and any sort of mountainous terrain to be bulldozed into a flatter slope. This is devastating stuff!

You can plant all the native plants you want to save the birds, but if they can't get their food when they migrate south it's all for nothing. Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world, right behind oil! For some countries it makes up 40% of their exports! This is an issue!

One problem pointed out by the symbol though is that certification only requires "trees" be grown in the coffee field, but doesn't specify what type. So farmers are free to do a more Permaculture approach with their farms. Permaculture is great but not on such a large scale where, if the plants still don't provide food for wildlife. Sadly it's currently not know what species of trees should be planted in these types of farm conditions. Anything native would certainly be better than nonnative but we don't have a detailed list of plants to say which genera and species are most beneficial to that part of the world.

So the symbol has some kinks to work out, but it's my understanding that they will update their standards when the research comes out. Until then, some trees are better than no trees. And Shade Coffee is better than Sun Coffee.