farmland worldwide. Since 1972, about 60 percent of that land has been deforested to make room for the hybrid, full-sun variety of coffee plant. In Nicaragua, roughly 87 percent of the rainforest has been removed to date. Clear-cutting of the tree-canopied forests to increase coffee bean yield upsets the ecosystem, creating a critical survival problem for millions of birds, including hummingbirds, orioles, hawks, warblers and many more, as well as other animals that depend on these forested areas. “Most of the sun coffee sold today is literally killing hundreds of thousands of songbirds,” said Clark. “Not to mention destroying a sustainable method of farming that supports those rural communities in Latin America and keeping the farm workers and their children away from toxic chemicals.” For Snow, the conditions hit close to home. “Many of the children we saw were alone for most the day,” she said. “We met a 7-year-old boy whose father had died. His mother spends
USDA Organic certification is a process for producers of organic food products. In general, any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, food processors, retailers and restaurants. Requirements generally involve a set of production standards for growing, storage, processing, packaging and shipping that include: • Avoidance of synthetic chemical inputs (fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics, food additives), irradiation and the use of sewage sludge; • Avoidance of genetically modified seed; • Use of farmland that has been free from prohibited chemical inputs for several years (three or more); • Keeping detailed written production and sales records (audit trail); • Maintaining strict physical separation of organic products from non-certified products; and • Undergoing periodic on-site inspections. Fair Trade Certified products are made
with respect to people and planet. The rigorous social, environmental and economic standards work to promote safe, healthy working conditions; protect the environment; enable transparency; and empower communities to build strong, thriving businesses. FTC products are certified by Fair Trade, USA; increase profits for farmers; and reduce the number of business steps between farmers and consumers.
her days working on the farm while he sells little turtles made from shells to help support their family. Most of the children we met will never go to school. “It’s a completely different world. That is why our slogan is ‘Profits for people, the planet and plumage.’ We don’t just want to make a difference; we believe we have to.” Purchasers of Rock Roast will be doing more than simply enjoying a unique blend of coffee. Every bag sold will help to save the shadegrown farms from being cut down; protecting winter bird habitats; help rebuild the Central American rainforest; and support the farmers who are making positive global decisions. Additionally, Snow hopes to see Rock Roast grow big enough, through eventual sales at grocery stores, including Giant Eagle and Whole Foods, to work with a variety of future farmers. “The most important aspect of the company is the positive impact it can and will have on helping save the planet for future generations, including my daughter’s,” she said. “That is something I can be really proud of. Rock Roast gives me, and every coffee drinker, a way to directly lessen climate change. Just talking about it is no longer enough. We need to take action.” To learn more about Rock Roast, visit: http://www.rockroast.org/. To purchase Rock Roast, which is available in medium or dark roasts, visit: http://www.goldenvalleyfarms.com/RockRoast_s/1858.htm.
Bird Friendly certification means that
the coffee purchased comes from farms in Latin America that provide good, forestlike habitat for birds. Rather than being grown on land that has been cleared of all other vegetation, “Bird Friendly” coffees are planted under a canopy of trees. Because of the shaded, forest-like setting, coffee produced this way is known as shade-grown.
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