March 26, 2010


Enjoy that cup of Joe everyday? You’re not alone.
Coffee is the world’s second most widely traded commodity after crude oil.

How does one make the right choices when it comes to buying coffee? Here are some suggestions from the Sierra Club:

#1) Fair Trade certification. The worldwide coffee glut means low prices, and the people who suffer most from that are small growers and their workers. Fair Trade certification, overseen in the US by the nonprofit TransFair USA, means the importer pays growers a decent price and supports them in going organic.
Go to for a listing of places to purchase FTC coffee. Green Mountain Coffee does buy FTC coffee and believe it or not you can even find it a Walmart.

#2) “Certified organic” means the USDA warrants the coffee to have been grown without fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, or other untoward chemicals.

#3) Consider and look for “shade grown” coffee. Starting in the 1970s, many farmers switched their production method to sun cultivation, in which coffee is grown in rows under full sun with little or no forest canopy. This causes berries to ripen more rapidly and bushes to produce higher yields, but requires the clearing of trees and increased use of fertilizer and pesticides, which damage the environment and cause health problems. Shade-grown coffee involves no such devastation. Undisturbed trees provide habitat for innumerable bird species, keep the topsoil where it belongs, and function as the planet’s lungs.

Source: Sierra Club

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