Green Mountain Coffee Family of Brands Blog

Drink Certified Fair Trade Organic Coffee and Keep the Chain Saw Away

When people recommend drinking Fair Trade Organic coffee because it’s good coffee and equitable for farmers, there’s another argument in its favor that sometimes gets overlooked.

While Fair Trade coffee is indeed good for small farmers and their families, it’s also good for the environment. There are many reasons why, but here’s one: It can help fight back deforestation.

Here’s how: if a small farmer owns a couple of acres of coffee trees and he or she can make some decent money growing coffee – something that you can harvest every year, he or she will keep the trees and stay in the coffee business. Keeping land in small scale organic agriculture like coffee is usually good for flora and fauna (and the farmers). Getting a guaranteed fair price through Fair Trade helps keep that farmer in the coffee business. If that same coffee farmer doesn’t get decent prices and decides to get out of the coffee business, he could cut down some big tall tropical hardwood trees and sell them (kind of a one time harvest) and then move on. If you take a whole region that slowly gets out of coffee – grown in remote high elevations in rural areas (also where lots of timber grows) – then it’s easier to “liquidate resources” – the fancy word for cutting a bunch of trees down. Here’s what that looks like from the sky, in this case, Washington State. (Photo from Google Earth).

Large scale logging in Washington State

Sumatra is part of Indonesia


The other day I found online an aerial survey map of Indonesia that showed the forest cover areas for the entire island of Sumatra (where we buy a lot of coffee). There is a serious problem with deforestation throughout Indonesia but it was heartening to see the area where we buy coffee (and plenty of other roasters buy). It’s very green. Lots of trees. Not so much logging in that area.  Not yet anyway.

Close up of Sumatra with an overlay of green, red, and orange areas.

The green areas are where there is forest. Red areas are industrial logging and yellow / orange are small land holder logging areas. The red arrows point to general areas where some of the finest coffee in Sumatra comes from. It’s kind of remote – maybe they don’t log because they can’t get there. Maybe enough farmers are getting by growing coffee so they don’t need to log. (That’s what I’m hoping). If it’s true what some sources say that the planet loses rainforest each year equivalent to the size of Panama, the very least we could do is reach for some more Fair Trade Organic coffee – in this case, how about some Sumatran?
Related Stuff:

Forest Loss Map - a great map from www.worldmapper.org
More information about deforestation in Indonesia.
If you use Google Earth, go here find out how to download a Disappearing Forests Google Earth Visualization (it's free, and fascinating).
Sumatranforest.org has loads of information

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Habitat For Humanity in VT

09-habitat-8x10-low-resIf you ever get the chance, volunteer for your local chapter of Habitat For Humantity.

One great aspect of working here at GMCR is our commitment to community service:  each employee gets up to 52 hours of paid leave to volunteer for their community.  Recently, some members of the Marketing department spent a day with Chittendon County, VT chapter of Habitat For Humanity.  We worked side-by-side with the soon-to-be new home owner and other HFH volunteers, helping to add insulation, a roof and other basics to a new home.

Habitat For Humanity's goal is simple:  to build simple, decent, affordable houses with those who lack adequate shelter.  To donate or learn more, click here.
09-habitat-ian-heather-ken-low-res

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The Trouble in Peru

When we travel and visit Fair Trade coops in Central and South America, and visit with farmers and coop managers and staff, there are some words we hear more than others. Brother. Solidarity. Together. We.

So it’s with some sadness that we pass long some news from Peru that you might not have heard about in the mainstream media. The trouble in Peru is the same trouble in many countries in the developing world – that of resource management and indigenous peoples’ rights. In Peru, there’s an indigenous Indian movement in the Peruvian Amazon to protect the Amazon Rainforest from mining and petroleum interests. It’s been an ongoing issue, and lately there have been clashes between the police and indigenous protesters, resulting in the loss of life on both sides.

I know, we’re not a news service agency, we’re a coffee company. (If you want to read up on the events, there's a list of links at the end). Here’s why it matters to us: we buy a lot of coffee from Peru, and a lot of that coffee comes from indigenous coffee farmers on the edges of and in the Amazon rainforest. In fact, one of the clashes that happened June 5 was on the main road between Jaen (We buy from 2 coops there: ASPROCAFE Selva Andina and CENFROCAFE) and Bagua (we buy from CAC Bagua Grande). We buy over 3 million pounds of high quality, very reliable Fair Trade Organic coffee from 12 different coops that are within 100 miles of where this clash happened. That’s well over 5,000 coffee farmers. We’ve been in touch with our partners on the ground and to date no one has been hurt and the supply lines are open. But their lives have just gotten even more complicated.

There’s been a state of emergency for 60 days declared in Bagua, Jaén and San Ignacio and the main roads are being kept open. That’s good. We need their coffee and they need to be able to sell it. If you want to support Peruvian coffee farmers, drink some FTO Peruvian Select. If you want to do something or express yourself, see the list below. If you want to just close your eyes for a few seconds and think about peace everywhere, go for it.

New York Times articles:
http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/people/r/simon_romero/index.html

Alliance for Responsible Trade
http://www.art-us.org/?key=36643586

26 minute Democracy Now piece on the events over the weekend:
http://www.democracynow.org/2009/6/8/peruvian_police_accused_of_massacring_indigenous

Duke University Study on Oil and Gas Projects in Western Amazon
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0002932

Great summary on Equal Exchange’s great blog called “Small Farmers Big Change”
http://smallfarmersbigchange.coop/2009/06/09/urgent-action-protest-massacre-of-indigenous-people-in-peru/

Belgian NGO called Catapa that focuses on mining problems in Latin America
http://www.catapa.be/en/news/340

If you want to take action, here are some steps.

Send a letter to the President of Peru
http://www.amazonwatch.org/peru-action-alert.php

Write a letter to your editor or congressman

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Special Events Abound This Summer Season

By Roger Garufi

This time of year always brings with it a plethora of special events and community gatherings.  As we sweep out our mud rooms, wash winter’s grit off our cars, and welcome summer back into our lives (a late-emerging and all too brief occurrence in Vermont), we also make time for the many local and regional sampling and sponsorship opportunities.

Green Mountain Coffee started the busy events week last Thursday at the Vermont Ski Areas Association Annual Meeting.  Held this year at the Killington Grand Hotel, we were on hand to show support for our marketing partners at the VSAA, and to distribute K-Cup samples of, among other things, our new seasonal offerings, Summer Safari ™ Blend and The Perfect Peach™. 

Saturday kept two sampling teams busy at two different events.  One team helped our friends at Cabot Creamery celebrate their 90th anniversary, at a special community event at their original Cabot location.  Closer to home, the other team provided free coffee to the attendees of the Waterbury Kids Fest /Green Mountain Coffee Safety Day, an annual event held in the park directly in front of our Visitor’s Center and Café.

wtby-kids-fest-2009-024

On Sunday, at the beautiful Shelburne Museum, a row of Keurig machines and a huge selection of complimentary K-Cups awaited volunteers and participants of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation annual fundraising walk.

Next weekend, I’m off to Hague, NY, to help the volunteers and the racers at the Northern Country Triathlon jump-start their day.  On the same day, a crew of local Green Mountain Coffee employees will be rolling down Main Street on our custom-built float, tossing hundreds of bags of coffee and travel mugs to the crowds gathered for the Waterbury 4th of July Parade.  On Sunday, June 28th, a remote sampling team will be sharing our fine offerings with folks at a special ‘Edible Garden’ event at New York City’s Botanical Garden.  Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse will be in attendance…hopefully they’ll be enjoying their very own Summer Safari.

Hope to see you at an event sometime soon….

Roger

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Final Days at Bonnaroo for the Carbon Shredders

We shredded hard on the last day! We got to listen to some great music at the Solar Stage including VT native Grace Potter! We love to shred to sounds of Gracie.

Just to prove we took some breaks - Shredders eating dinner!

All are psyched to do their part in changing climate change by becoming aware of simple ways to change behavior. We met with Sarah Bush from Edible Revolution. Sarah is the garden goddess of Bonnaroo and her goal is to show peeps here that anyone can garden and grow food just about anywhere, shredding miles and carbon from transporting your food.

On our last day we collected more pledges (bringing the number close to 4,000), among them a tree on stilts :) Jasna even gave him a hug which made her an official tree hugger.

A tree on stilts signs up to shred carbon.

All 22 Shredders worked hard and planted lots of seeds. Lydia from Kilowatt Ours gave us major props at the end of the day and we were feeling the love. Love you back Kilowatt Ours, you are doing amazing work keep rocking it.
It was sad to pack up our booth at the end of the day, we loved our shredding shed it treated us well. Help us spread the shred all year long by going to www.doyourpartclimate.org and pledge to shred.
Finally off the road in Vermont,
Shredolutionaries

Bonnaroo Carbon Shredders 2009

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Bonnaroo Carbon Shredders Day 3!

Bonnaroo Carbon Shredders' Booth 2009

Wow, over 2000  pledges so far and two more days to go. We washed some more laundry  this am and are brewing solar coffee to get more peeps in our booth. This morning we had some great conversation with folks who want to take the shred to their own communities.


Matt Bushlow collecting pledges at Bonnaroo 2009

Life is good down here and peeps are getting it and genuinely want to do more and impact less.

Love and good vibes,

Amanda, Jasna and the rest of the Shredolution crew


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Bonnaroo Carbon Shredders!

The Bonnaroo Carbon Shredders are back at it again! Last year Green Mountain Coffee & Seventh Generation folks drove down from VT to Manchester, Tennessee to teach folks at the Bonnaroo Music Festival how to reduce their Carbon Footprints. We’re here again, with reinforcements from Gardeners Supply, Burton, and Dealer.com.

Matt Morris, GMCR Employee signing Bonnaroo Folks up for Bonnaroo Carbon Shredders

The booth is rockin', folks are loving the laundry line, seeing how easy it is to do laundry in cold water and use the sun to dry it. Many have pledged to start air-drying their laundry. Did you know, you can save 5 lbs of CO2 per load by air-drying rather than using an electric dryer?

There’s a Photo Scavenger hunt this year – which is drawing in the crowds to have their photo taken with "almost famous" Bonnaroo Carbon Shredders. We had a few sign ups on Do Your Part Carbon Tracker and collected over 400 emails in 4 hours! Our goal is to collect 10,000 signatures of folks pledging to reduce their CO2 footprints. Shred Hard, Walk Lightly!

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GMCR - A Great Place to Work and Here's Why

trail-day-3-gmcr


This post is a bit past due but what can I say; we've been busy here at World Bean HQ!  Many of us were fortunate enough to attend our National Sales Meeting last month which was held in beautiful Colorado Springs, CO.  Although it was a week of work, learning, sharing, teaching, and tasting, we also had the opportunity to give back to the surrounding community and have a little fun at the same time.


trail-day-with-green-mountain-coffee-roasters


On May 20th, over 50 Green Mountain Coffee, Keurig and Tully's employees volunteered for El Paso County Public Service-Parks Division. We did some heavy lifting, fence building, trail building, water bar building, digging, and seeding to rebuild hiking and mountain bike trails in the C Springs area.  After sitting through "many" PowerPoint presentations, the physical activity, not to mention the team building, was a welcome distraction.


trail-day-gmcr


Since 1993, GMCR has paid what we call "Cafe Time" for employees who want to volunteer for nonprofit and community-based organizations, up to 52 hours per year.  In fact, a lot of us bean-heads will be helping on two upcoming projects locally; the Winooski River Clean Up and a Habitat for Humanity day.


That's a nice water bar!

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Keurig Travel Mugs

Our two newest mugs are our latest ‘on-the-go’ Keurig mugs. They both fit, most conveniently, under the Keurig Brewer without having to remove the drip tray. This makes it easy to slide your mug right under the Brewer, brew up a fresh cup, and be on your way. No fumbling around on those early mornings needed -- no muss, no fuss!

Both of these mugs are under $8 and are great for on-the-go!  The Keurig Plastic Travel Mug is great for fast coffee drinkers and the Keurig-sized Travel Mug is stainless steel to keep your coffee hotter for longer. 

 

keurig-mugs-duo

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UFO Sighting in Waterbury

Well, not exactly.  There was a huge silver saucer in the air above our roasting facility. It's a new bowl for one of the Probat bowl roasters we use in Waterbury, VT.  While only a part of the whole roaster, it's a really important part and it gets a lot of use making great coffee. We're replacing one that's a little “long in the tooth” and as you can imagine, it's a little complicated. They need a crane, a sunny day to open up the roof, and some talented people to pull it off. The project's on track and the roaster will be back on line soon.

As we say around here "Better and Better"

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Kind Words for Cafe EXPRESS Platinum

bw_platinumceSince we announced Cafe EXPRESS Platinum back in April, we received many kind words of thanks from our wonderful Cafe EXPRESS members.  Here are some of our favorites:

This is a very nice benefit, and a good incentive! Thank you. -- R

Thank you for increasing my plan status to platinum.  The extra 2.50 savings is most welcome.  My husband, son and I enjoy your coffee several times daily.  I also have a keruig at work so I don' miss my coffee.  In fact, I've converted several  D***** D***** drinkers to the Green Mt. brand.    We have become coffee snobs.  It's difficult to find coffees out in restaurants that have any where near the full flavor of green mountain coffees. -- Nancy M.

That's cool, it will be even cheaper now WOOP WOOP! -- Ali G. (really)

Just a quick thank you for the Platinum status. In these economic troubles, we realize the sacrifices you are making to your customers by offering such a generous discount. Also know though, this means a great deal to my family and we very much appreciate the thought. Have a nice day! -- Patti W H

I don't think I've ever had that happen to us!  Thank you, what a gift! -- Ann S.

YAY! Thanks!! -- Jennifer D.

Thank you for the extra discount, we love your coffee and the coffee dispenser - MN264

We appreciate the discount on our Green Mt. Express bag orders! THANKS!! -- Liv and Jim S. (Who lived in Vermont 44 years, and love your coffee!)


Thanks to all for the nice feedback.  If you'd like to learn how to save money on your K-Cup or wholebean/ground coffee, please check out our Cafe EXPRESS program.  Plus, you can't beat the program's convenience.  Before you know it, you'll qualify for Cafe EXPRESS Platinum.

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Lawyers In Love (with Keurig)

With apologies to Jackson Browne, apparently The Keurig 3000, for offices with 30+ employees.lawyers are in love with our Keurig brewers.  So says the Legal Pad, a California law blog.  In their story We Spill the Beans on Bingham's All-Nighter Secret, they wax poetic about the synergies of Keurig brewers, gourmet coffee, and pulling all-nighters.  Here's the most amusing quote:

the machine emits “a weird blue light, like from ET,” Caraccio said. “I stared at it a lot during the all-nighters.”

For all-nighters, I recommend our Extra Bold Dark Magic, for obvious reasons.
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