Coffee is the second most popular beverage in the world only after water. It is also the world’s most valuable traded commodity, behind only petroleum. Therefore, it has a considerable impact on many lives, both consumers and farmers. To understand the benefits of Organic coffee you need to know a little about how coffee is grown.
Coffee farming was originally developed in Africa as an understory crop, meaning that it was grown under other larger shade trees. The coffee was integrated with other food crops such as bananas and nut trees which provided food as well as additional sources of income to the coffee farmers. Traditional farmers would use sustainable* agricultural techniques including composting coffee pulp, rotating crops, and not applying chemicals and fertilizers. These farming techniques provided a habitat for wildlife such as birds, butterflies, insects, and animals. Many pests are handled by natural predators and nutrients are added to the soil from the natural dropping of leaves and from the taller trees.
In the 1970s and 1980s there was a shift to “technified agriculture” and millions of dollars were given to plantations in Central America to replace the traditional shade-grown farming techniques with sun cultivation techniques. This resulted in the destruction of vast forests of over 2.7 million acres by cutting down trees, mono-cropping and input of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
This type of farming has created a downward spiral to all areas of life on these farms. Pesticide pollution, deforestation and the extinction of many species of songbirds through habitat destruction are a few of the byproducts of this style of farming. Others include the degradation of soil and water sources resulting in environmental issues as well as worker exposure to contaminated water.
For this reason, many organizations that have the environment in mind have developed standards for promoting shade-grown or bird-friendly certified coffee- coffee grown under a canopy of diverse trees that provide habitat to birds. In addition, many consumers are committed to purchasing organic coffee to promote sustainable farming techniques in poor countries. We at Java Planet are also committed to making this coffee available to you.