The latest happenings and achievements of our dear member-roasters!
We’re happy to announce that the first two CO2 responsible coffee roasters in Canada are two of our very own! Santropol in Montreal, QC and Bean North in Whitehorse, YT, have taken some great steps forward. They’ve done their research and partnered with Taking Root, a non-profit organization in Montreal, to analyze their carbon footprint. The team at Taking Root did a great job of looking at what Bean North and Santropol do well and where they can improve and they’ve uncovered some interesting statistics.
On the weekend of August 27-28, the whole eastern coast of the United States and Canada braced itself for the arrival of Hurricane Irene, with many states issuing hurricane warnings and declaring states of emergency. On Sunday, Irene hit Vermont with a vengeance, overflowing the Winooski River from its banks and flooding the town of Waterbury, home of our member roaster Vermont Artisan Coffee and Tea and Coffee Lab International. The flooding left behind a mess and a lot to worry about. Thankfully, however, no lives were lost.
Alternative Grounds has been a trailblazer of the fair trade movement ever since they set up shop in Toronto 15 years ago. And it seems that energy that sparked their original plan to roast and sell fairly traded, organic coffee in a warm and welcoming cafe on Roncesvalles Ave, has many more trails to blaze! Newspaper "The Toronto Sun" recently featured Linda Burnside, owner of Alt. Grounds for her admirable efforts to turn Toronto into a fair trade town!
For many of our member roasters, the primary mode of transportation -- both for the commute and for deliveries; in rain, shine, snow, or freezing temperatures! -- is the bicycle. This year, Just Coffee was recognized by the League of American Bicyclists for encouraging employees and setting an example for the community as a "Bicycle Friendly Business." Way to go Just Coffee! Keep on pedaling!
CC member Larry's Beans was recently featured in the News Observer, in an article that explores the companies commitment to Fair Trade and sustainability. Starting with a passion for coffee and a degree in economics, Larry built his company into what is now a successful and ever-growing roasting institution in Raleigh! With an active presence in direct relationships with producer partners and a steadfast commitment to the environment and local causes, Larry's Beans has blazed the trail for Fair Trade coffee roasters all over the country.
A jog across the cradle of civilization to support childhood education
From January 15th to the 21st, several of Coop Coffees' members and producer partners convened in Peru for meetings and field visits during Coop Sol's 2010 annual assembly. Despite a grueling schedule (so much to do in one short week!), unexpected road blocks and run-ins with the police, everyone who participated came away with a better understanding of what fair trade truly is and should continue to be on the ground, with our partners, and within our coop.
The world of Fair Trade just keeps on growing...and getting tastier! In a recent trip to Palestine, Higher Grounds' Chris Treter explored the ins and outs of Fair Trade olive oil that is being produced by over 1,700 small farmers in the regions of Nablus, Ramallah, and Jenin. By empowering rural communities through traditional farming methods and sustainable trade partnerships, Fair Trade olive oil is slowly but surely making a difference in the lives of Palestinian farmers.
Cooperative Coffees roasters and producer organizations from across Mexico gather together from Sept 4 - 11, 2009 under the umbrella of the Catholic Relief CAFE Livelihoods project in Oaxaca to discuss and experience first hand the challenges around producing consistently high quality coffee.
As part of the ongoing CRS project "CAFE Livelihoods," three representatives from Coop Coffees -- Bill Harris, Tripp Pomeroy of Cafe Campesino, and Chris Treter of Higher Grounds -- spent a week in Nicaragua facilitating and participating in workshops on market management and commercialization in the coffee industry. They worked alongside 5 different cooperatives which included CC producer partners. Below is a trip report by Chris Treter, roaster-member and participant in the CRS Project.
It's not every day that the folks in Americus, GA get to spend time with a farmer and marketing director from a coffee coop in Guatemala -- and it's not every day that a farmer from Guatemala gets to visit a group of Georgians and experience their culture first-hand. But that's exactly what's been happening in the hometown of Coop Coffees member Cafe Campesino - since August, Miguel Tzoy of la Asociación Chajulense in Guatemala has been visiting with the community, learning all about the day-to-day of Cafe Campesino, getting accustomed to the unique cuisine, and fitting in regular English lessons into his busy schedule!
In June, member roaster Café Rico opened the doors to “Le Petit Rico” – a charming restaurant-kitchen that offers delicious lunches and healthy take-out meals from 9 to 5. Sourcing from local Quebec farmers, fisherman, and butchers and using Fair Trade ingredients when they can, Le Petit Rico brings a whole new and unique flavor to the neighborhood.
A key principle of Fair Trade is traceability; the consumer should be able to follow the path of a delicious cup of joe, bar of chocolate, or sprinkle of sugar back to the farm and coop behind the product. Peace Coffee recently launched a bright, fun, user-friendly website for people to dig deeper into their daily brew and learn about where the coffee comes from and who produces it.
In March, roaster-member Amavida participated in an international, 9-years-running peace project called the Art Miles Mural Project in which communities -- and children in particular -- are encouraged to create peace through art, namely through mural-painting. This year, the organization that runs the project chose the Seaside community, home to Amavida, to host the event. After a trip to Chiapas, Amavida delivered several murals produced by producer partner Maya Vinic's children. Read Dan Bailey's summary of the event below!
We're very proud to announce that the US Postal Service has announced that member-roaster Bongo Java's much-loved, and now famous, NunBun -- an ordinary cinnamon bun that many believe looked like Mother Teresa -- will be an official postage stamp! Below, Bongo Java sums up this momentous event!
Over the last couple months, the staff at Cafe Campesino has been busy preparing for the official launching of their "sister" roastery located in Gainesville, FL -- about 3 hours southwest of Americus, GA. Cooperative Coffees is happy to welcome Sweetwater into the family!
After visiting producer partner ACOES earlier in the year, one of Bongo Java's staff, Chris Durai felt compelled to help the members of that community make this Christmas extra special for their kids. Throwing together a local benefit concert, Chris managed to raise money to cover costs for what turned out to be a fantastic fiesta in El Salvador! Once again, we're reminded of the creativity and connection that Fair Trade enables. Read Chris' summary of the event below.
The Star Tribune (newspaper in Minneapolis) featured Peace Coffee and their sustainable business model in October. From their bike/bio-diesel van deliveries, to their (and Cooperative Coffees') model of trade, to the controversy surrounding FT certification, this article covers several "hot" items affecting many of our roasters today.
Last July, Alternative Grounds celebrated their 13th anniversary and we thought this would be a great opportunity to let you know a little bit about their impressive list of ongoing projects. From Amnesty International to an original postcard project, read all about the great new projects that the good folks at Alternative Grounds have been up to lately.
Every year for the last 5 years, Roast Magazine has put on a Roaster of the Year Competition to which roasters all across the country apply and enter their best coffees. Being the prestigious contest that it is, the competition is fierce and the judgment is tough. This year, CoopCoffee's member roaster Kickapoo Coffee entered for the first time ever and ended up making it as one of the top three finalists!