Green Mountain Coffee Family of Brands Blog

Heifer International: Fighting Hunger in Coffee-Growing Areas

Denise Henderson is the Manager of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Heifer International. Below, she is a piece she wrote about her recent experiences visiting Heifer projects for After The Harvest.org - the website for the documentary about food security in coffee communities

"For several years through a partnership with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR), Heifer International has been committed to fighting hunger and seasonal poverty in coffee growing areas, most notably in Mexico and Central and South America.

Through its work, Heifer conducts agriculture and livestock programs that enable farmers to achieve food security, improve yields and generate revenue by diversifying crop and animal production. Heifer applies improved farming techniques and helps farmers bring products to market through its community-based approach.

In the past few months, I have had the opportunity to see the partnership between Heifer and GMCR in action, both in the field and here in the United States.

In February, I traveled to Honduras with a group of Heifer International staff. While visiting coffee farmers in Marcala, our group observed a distinct difference between families who had the good fortune of participating in a Heifer program designed to address food security and income, and those who didn’t. The families participating in the Heifer projects we visited were healthy and well fed.

In contrast, it was difficult to bear the sight of visibly undernourished residents and their animals that grazed on patches of grass wherever available…usually on the side of a narrow, crooked road with lots of cars and trucks going by.  We were alarmed when our driver screeched to a stop to prevent hitting a cow stopped in the road.

While we were able to see only a few coffee farmers, it was apparent the great struggles of many who provide one of our greatest pleasures – a good cup of coffee - must experience each year. I’m proud to be part of the Heifer-GMCR partnership working to end seasonal hunger and poverty in this part of the world.

In April, I was part of a delegation of Heifer International representatives who attended the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) event in Portland, OR. 

While at SCAA, we were awestruck by the collaboration beginning to form.  Global non-government organizations are beginning to consider collective impact and what it might look like to work together. Competing companies are joining forces to help their coffee producers, for the good of their farmers and their coffee supply chain. Individual agendas are being abandoned in favor of a collective approach to improve hunger and poverty during “the thin months.” It seemed that all are beginning to understand that there won’t be great coffee if there are no coffee growers.

We at Heifer are very happy to be part of the solution of addressing hunger in the coffeelands, and we look forward to our continuing relationship with those in the coffee industry who share the same ideals."

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Our First Roommate Dinner

I’ve written about the advantages of moving in with my girlfriend Lena recently, but I failed to mention that we also live with a couple of extra roommates, Matt and Kathleen. Kathleen is 25, only a couple of years older than me and Lena, and works as a manager at a restaurant in town. Matt is 31 and is one of the top chefs at a different restaurant nearby. While it might seem like an inconvenient situation for a couple to share an apartment with two other people, it's actually worked out much better than expected - just like moving in with Lena!

First of all, having two roommates that work in the restaurant industry means that our schedules rarely line up. As a result, we usually only see each other two or three times a week for brief periods, which means that we never feel like we're on top of each other in the apartment.

While we all appreciate the way our schedules allow us all to have free reign of the apartment at different times, it also makes it difficult for us to hang out and bond like regular roommates. Even when we make plans to see each other, there's usually some sort of last-minute restaurant emergency that keeps either Matt or Kathleen away for the night. However, we managed to line up our work schedules this week so we could all sit down to the first roommate dinner in the apartment.

Considering that Matt is a chef at one of the fanciest restaurants in town, it was only natural that he cook up something extra delicious for dinner. I came home from work to the intoxicating aromas of fresh stuffing, roasting pork, buttery potatoes, and all manner of herbs and spices. When Lena and Kathleen arrived, we sat down at the table together for the first time, popped a bottle of wine and let the evening take us where it may.

Several servings and glasses of wine later, we were all swapping stories about our families, childhoods, annoying jobs we had worked and plans for the future. The wine had made us a little sleepy, but we didn't want to cut the night short, so we threw on the Keurig® brewer and brewed some strong coffee to keep us going.

Before long we were talking and drinking coffee well into the evening. The hot beverages got us in the mood for some dessert, so we finished up the evening heading to the local ice cream shop for some after dinner treats. I really hope that we can find time in our busy schedules to make roommate dinner night a regular tradition.

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The Top 10 Things We Like Most About Memorial Day

Gathered via an extremely informal, impromptu poll around the office about what people liked best about Memorial Day weekend, aside from the fact that it’s a long weekend and paid holiday of course!

  1. Having a BBQ (or picnic):
    • Naturally, there were many mentions regarding cook-outs and grilling. Just about everyone had some iteration of it. Some people were a little more enthusiastic and detailed about it than others though, going so far as to say “a clambake at the beach or “a fat juicy steak on the grill cooked just so”, possibly bordering on being a little overzealous in some cases. People love their food!
  2. Being with friends and family:
    • This common theme ties in nicely with pretty much everything else about the holiday, the, generally, more pleasant weather, outdoor opportunities and the typical events warrant spending quality time with loved ones.
  3. Strawberry shortcake:
    • This classic summer treat deserves its own place in the lineup, it’s delicious. enough said!
  4. Fireworks:
    • Always fun, even if slightly dangerous, but it’s a holiday and the weather is nice enough to spend it outside, so fireworks are an obvious possibility. Please just be safe, we like you all to be healthy, happy people.
  5. Beginning to plant the garden, window boxes, spring flowers:
    • This was an extremely popular response, with good reason. The sun is finally shining strongly and the world is a verdant green and in bloom around you, so it’s an appropriate time to enjoy in that fresh spring vigor and get dirty working in the garden.
  6. Parades:
    • Exciting to watch and good for people of ages. Everything from a young girl walking her cows, which are 3 times her size, to the older veterans riding in classic cars, to people hanging out of the back of a hay wagon being pulled behind an enormous tractor(at least where I’m from).
  7. Flying candy:
    • An essential part of any parade in my book, though I’m told that this may not be a universal trait of these sorts of events nationwide. If you’re unfamiliar with this tradition, it’s basically centered around throwing candy from the vehicles and floats in the parade to the observers. Obviously a nice gesture!
  8. The start of the summer feeling:
    • Something triggers in the body right around this holiday in conjunction with the weather that says that it’s time for fun, boating, swimming, and laying in the hammock, etc…
  9. Icy beverages:
    • Marketing completely aside, the increasing warmth and humidity bring with them a desire for more refreshing, cooler drinks. Iced coffee and Iced tea taking the place of their normal counterparts.
  10. Going camping:
    • Again tied to the agreeableness of the weather, is the opening up of the camping season. Time for bug spray, camp fires, hot dogs, and s’mores!

Enjoy the holiday and cross your fingers for nice weather!

If you’re looking for ideas and/or a good deal on iced beverages you should check out what we’ve got going on the website. (GreenMountainCoffee.com)

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5th Annual Music On The Porch Series

The weather is warming up in Vermont and our porch is lined with tables for our guests. Now, all we need is the music. Beginning this Sunday, May 27th, we kick off our 5th annual Music on the Porch series at the Green Mountain Coffee®Visitor Center & Café located in Waterbury’s historic train station. Join us every Sunday through September 2nd from 1-3 p.m. on our porch. Sit down and relax, watch the train go by, and enjoy a cup of iced coffee or another specialty drink. Each week we will raffle off a new Vue™ brewer and all proceeds collected will benefit Food 4 Farmers, a non-profit whose mission is to facilitate the implementation of sustainable food security programs in coffee-growing communities. We are very excited to support a cause that is addressing a serious issue in coffee-growing communities. Please visit food4farmers.org for more information.

Rain or shine, we hope to see you Sundays on our covered porch!

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Volunteers Support 29th Defi Sportif!

The spirit of volunteerism is a part of the culture at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. That spirit is alive

and strong with our Montreal based employees who participated in their first large-scale volunteer event a couple weeks ago.

The Défi Sportif is an international event that assembles athletes from the elite to newcomers, with all types of disabilities. This year the Défi sportif brought together over 4,000 athletes from over 15 countries for 7 days of athletic competition. The week long event culminated with the wheelchair rugby finals with Ontario Thunders taking the win.

GMCR sent more than 20 employees to volunteer at the event for the entire week. For some of these employees this was their first CAFE (or volunteerism) event! The GMCR Canada marketing team also got in on the volunteering by refereeing one of the high school soccer competitions. It is great to see the commitment to volunteerism from all our employees sites.

 And on top of sending employees, we donated all the coffee, tea and hot chocolate required to fuel the event’s athletes and volunteers! 

Congratulations for all the athletes and volunteers!

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A Saturday Among The Whales

This past Friday night, my girlfriend Lena and I came to the realization that we were facing a relatively uneventful weekend. We both got off work and began calling our friends to see who would be interested in hanging out, but after a few phone calls we discovered that almost all of our friends would be out of town.

While neither Lena nor I mind having a quiet weekend to ourselves, we decided this would be the perfect opportunity to get away on our own excursion. Boston is only a short drive from our apartment in Vermont, so we thought it would be nice to spend Saturday in Beantown exploring some of the city's sights and sounds.

We loaded up the car with a couple of necessary provisions and hit the road early on Saturday morning - an impressive feat considering that neither of us are really morning people. However, I managed to rouse Lena out of bed with promises of a croissant (she can't resist breakfast pastries). After enjoying a hot cup of coffee, we felt awake enough to embark on our Boston journey.

Luckily, there wasn't much traffic on the highway, and we arrived just after 11 a.m. - the perfect time to grab some brunch by the waterfront.  We hadn't come to Boston with much of a plan for the day, so we used the meal as an opportunity to read up on some of the attractions and events available to us.

One item jumped out in particular - whale watching. Considering that Boston isn't that far away from Cape Cod, there were plenty of different cruises and tours available to catch a glimpse of those incredible mammals, so we headed over to the aquarium and booked tickets.

We boarded the boat around 2 p.m. and sped out into the Atlantic to the spot around the tip of Cape Cod where whales apparently love to congregate. It took us about an hour of traveling through the water to reach the spot, and once we arrived there must have been 10 humpback whales swimming in the area. We were lucky enough to see a mama whale with a new baby in the water as well, and the two were constantly coming up to the ship and splashing around in the water.

The ship lingered for about a half hour before heading back to shore, and I managed to capture some great videos and pictures on my phone. After so much time in the sun, Lena and I were plenty tired, and were pleasantly surprised to find that the boat offered Green Mountain Coffee® products in the snack bar. We grabbed a couple of cups and lounged in the shade as we sailed back to Boston. All in all, it was a fantastic day of whale watching.

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Some Like It Sweet!

I am an iced coffee fanatic, so you can image my excitement that the Original Donut Shop™ Coffee now has two new Brew Over Ice flavors, Sweet and Creamy Iced Coffee K-Cup® packs, available in Regular and Nutty Hazelnut.

Both are very welcome additions to our Brew Over Ice line of iced coffees for your Keurig® Brewer. I usually add cream and sugar to my iced coffee because I like them sweet and creamy but these two coffees are already just the way I like them, with a dash of cream and sugar.  Just pop one in your Keurig brewer, brew over ice using the 6-ounce setting, and enjoy!

Simply put: Sweet and Creamy is iced coffee made easy

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The advantages of a not-so-long-distance relationship

Between the beautiful mountains, pristine forests, close-knit communities and incredible food, you'd have to drag me away kicking and screaming to get me out of Vermont for more than a few days. Unfortunately, my boyfriend Alden is tied to his job in Boston, so our relationship has always had to deal with us living in two different places. I'm not going to lie - navigating a not-so-long-distance (Vermont to Boston isn't that far, after all) has been tough, but Alden and I seem to have found a way to make it work.

While eventually one of us will have to reconsider his or her respective living arrangement (my money's on Alden) to progress the relationship any further, I've also discovered there are a few enjoyable advantages to being a part of a long distance relationship.

Perhaps the most significant benefit I've noticed is that communicating with your partner when you're separated by many miles allows you to really get to know each other. When you have to schedule specific times to talk either on a lunch break or in the evening, there isn't much time for empty chatter. As a result, I feel like I've discovered parts of Alden's personality that might have taken much longer to uncover through conventional dating.

For instance, I recall one conversation we had that lasted nearly two hours on Skype. We started off with the usual chit-chat - discussing our days at work and griping about this and that - but eventually the conversation evolved to an intense trip into our respective pasts. We talked about our favorite childhood memories, our experiences together in college, traveling, and even old relationships.

After what seemed like a few minutes, both of us realized that we had been talking for an hour and that it was well past nine o'clock. While it was late, neither of us wanted to cut the conversation short, so we fired up our respective Keurig® Vue™ brewers for a necessary caffeine fix. It was during this particular conversation that we learned about our mutual obsession with Barista Prima® Italian Roast. It's good to know that when we end up in the same place, we won't have to argue about which coffee we prefer best.

With our coffee brewed, we were ready to carry the conversation for another hour. After a few more trips to the Keurig, we were both feeling alert enough to watch a movie together. We synced up our well-worn copies of The Big Lebowski (a classic film by all standards) and bantered about our favorite lines from the movie.

 

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Mid-spring fun in the sun

I wasn't going to waste a second of the gorgeous spring weather, so I gathered a couple of buddies for some pickup games at the rec park. It was nice to shed sweaters and raincoats in favor of a t-shirt and shorts as we took in the warm sunshine. We started off with some half-field soccer and finished up by just throwing a Frisbee around for the last couple hours - just how a nice spring afternoon should be spent.

Honestly, one of my favorite parts of playing with close friends on the weekends is the sideline banter. Even though we don't take our games all that seriously, we all have a bit of a competitive side that tends to come out as we play. The amount of good-natured trash talk that's thrown around during our water breaks is hilarious and makes the games much more fun. Minor boasting turns into bragging, and soon enough it just goes straight to outright insults.

We had all gotten so used to the cool, rainy weather that we all forgot how hot it gets running around in the sun all day. By the end of the afternoon, we were all a little burned, or parched, or both and looking for a cool place to relax. I invited everyone back to my house, which happens to be the closest and the one with by far the best selection of iced tea and iced coffee (might have something to do with working for a coffee company...) . Luckily, I stocked up on plenty of K-Cup® packs for my Keurig® brewer before the weekend, so I had plenty to go around.

Some of my friends are relative newcomers to the one-touch convenience of the Keurig® system, and they were especially surprised by the Brew Over Ice varieties. It only took a quick demo before I had requests for both iced tea and iced coffee - vital caffeine supplements to help us recover from our post-sports malaise.

All in all, it was a great afternoon with the guys that I hope we can keep going all spring and summer long. Here's to hoping that Mother Nature is willing to play along with the good weather...

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Cafe Express Member Survey

A special thanks to all of the Café Express® savings club members who have participated in the club member satisfaction survey. For those club members who haven’t taken the survey, we strongly encourage you to do so! We’d love to hear from as many of you as possible. It should only take between 5 and 10 minutes to complete and all the information we gather is of course confidential. At the end of the collection period we’ll send out a summary of the results and our action plans.

Here is a link to the survey: http://survey.gmcronline.com/Checkbox/express.aspx

Thanks again from everyone here on the Café Express team.

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Music festival season is coming... don't forget the coffee!

Guys, can I take a minute here to talk about one of my favorite times of year? No, not summer antiquing - I'm talking about music festival season. While one of the year's biggest music events - Coachella - just passed back in April, many of the summer's most exciting extravaganzas of live music, artwork, delicious food, camping and comedy are just around the corner - Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival, Lollapalooza, Wakarusa, Sasquatch and Austin City Limits, among dozens of others.

While I try to get to as many of these incredible events as I can, the sheer volume of live music makes it impossible. Because of this, I have to pick and choose which festivals I want to experience each year. As someone who enjoys the outdoors, I tend to prefer the festivals that let me take advantage of the opportunity to spend a few days enjoying the sun and greenery, but I also like mixing things up with the occasional city jam every now and again.

This year, I'm heading down to Bonnaroo in the great state of Tennessee. For four incredible days, we get to disconnect from everything happening in the outside world and just listen to some of my favorite artists and bands. The event starts in just under a month, so I've already gotten to work organizing the necessary supplies.

Along with the essentials, a tent, food, sunscreen, lots of water, ice and summer clothing, I never forget to bring a whole heaping mound of Green Mountain Coffee® K-Cup® packs. Luckily the campground I am staying at provides electricity to each campsite so my Keurig® brewer can continue to function at the picnic table with nothing more than an extension cord - it beats searching for a decent cup of coffee every morning, afternoon, and night.

There's nothing better than a cup of Nantucket Blend® Iced Coffee to beat the summer heat during the early morning performances. However, it can get a little chilly at night - even in the middle of June in Tennessee - so it's nice to have some hot French Roast coffee to get me through the late night shows that sometimes cross into the wee hours of the morning.

Considering that we'll be sleeping in tents under the hot sun - not the easiest conditions to get any amount of rest in - the coffee is as much about the routine and taste as it is survival. However, no amount of roughing it will deter me from my love of my musical summers.

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An ode to coffee-fueled family game nights

Despite the fact that I am a 23-year-old college graduate, I can't deny the fact I still possess a boyish love of games. Throughout my undergraduate career, my friends and I tore through just about every board and card game in the book during our weekly family game night (which we lovingly abbreviated to FGN) - Monopoly, Sorry, Uno, Risk, The Game of Life, Scrabble, Blockus and Taboo among many more. We even developed our own official/unofficial FGN rulebook in order to settle the inevitable disputes that would arise among our extremely competitive group of friends.

I bring up this particular aspect of my life because I recently got together with my remaining group of college friends to breathe some new life into the old FGN. We dusted off the Monopoly board and instantly it was like a junior year Wednesday night all over again. We started snatching up properties like it was going out of style.

I have to say, even though it wasn't the exact same crew that we had back in the day, it was great to reconnect in the name of  family game night. Before long, the same semi-good natured arguments had broken out, the old jokes were being relived (like when my friend Carlo famously threw Taboo across the room and stormed out of the apartment) and the refreshments were flowing free.

In fact, one of the most memorable aspects that reappeared during our update on FGN was brewing lots and lots of coffee. Back in college, family game night often crossed the midnight mark into the wee hours of the morning, so we made sure to keep our Keurig® brewer handy at all times. This time was no different - I was prepared with several Green Mountain Coffee® K-Cup® packs of Dark Magic® Extra Bold, French Roast and Colombian Fair Trade Select so that we could all get our favorite caffeine fixes.

And wouldn't you know, the rebirth of FGN once again crossed into familiar late night territory. After all, as anyone who has ever played Monopoly knows, it's not a game that goes quickly or easily - everyone was making deals and trades that prolonged the outcome well into the evening. Pretty soon, we had completely abandoned our other drinks in favor of cup after cup of coffee. Tired, yet still wired, we kept FGN going until my girlfriend Lena had emerged victorious - at 3:30 a.m. It was just like old times.

 

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Sharing Coffee and other great things about living with my girlfriend

While I wasn't initially planning on moving in with my girlfriend, Lena, so young - even though we've been dating since high school - I've found that it's been a really great experience for both personal and financial reasons. I wouldn't recommend that everyone live with their significant other right out of college, it seems to be working for me.

I shouldn't be too surprised that the two of us make such good roommates - after all, we have a number of similar interests, including - what else? - coffee. I can recall one instance in college when Lena and I were preparing for a final exam - we probably each bought about six or seven cups of coffee that day. Needless to say, that caffeine binge cost us both a pretty penny at the local coffee shop, although when it comes to money, living in the post-college world has showed us both that undergraduate studies are nothing compared to professional life. 

More than just cheaper rent, Lena and I save an immense amount of money by splitting most of our costs right down the middle. In particular, we still tend to blow a lot of money on coffee every week, so sharing the cost of Green Mountain Coffee® and our Keurig® makes enjoying multiple cups a day (and we do) much easier on our bank accounts. Now we can pack up a couple of travel mugs full of our favorite French Roast or Donut House® K-Cup® packs before work - avoiding the trouble of running to the coffee shop several times a day.

There have certainly been some road bumps along the way, but I can safely say that moving in with my girlfriend has unexpectedly become one of the best decisions of my life.

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Do you smell that? It's barbecue season - bring on the iced tea!

You know, this spring's weather has been a bit perplexing to me. A few weeks back it seemed like warm, sunny days had arrived for good, but since then the weather hasn't been able to make up its mind if it's spring or not. One minute I'll be enjoying a beautiful, 70-degree day, and then next it's suddenly cold, damp and cloudy. All of this inconsistency has made it really difficult to enjoy one of my favorite seasonal activities - grilling.

But this past weekend I decided to hedge my bets on the weather and break out the old charcoal grill. With my eye on the sky, I rounded up the wife and kids and told them to get ready for the first delicious barbecue fare of the season. The second I mentioned grilling, the kids, Spencer and Sabrina were instantly asking to help.

I have to laugh every time the kids want to be included with the barbecue, because it's almost impossible to get them to participate when I'm cooking a regular dinner in the kitchen. If there's an oven involved, neither of them are anywhere to be seen, but mention "BBQ" and they're suddenly aspiring chefs. I can't blame the kids for their enthusiasm for grilling though - meat and vegetables cooking over an open flame is what I live for in the summertime.

With my wife's supervision, I set the little ones to work shucking corn, cutting veggies and brewing some delicious Half  & Half iced tea with our Keurig® Brewer . Meanwhile, I headed out into the yard to get the grill started - all the while hoping that our first barbecue of the season wouldn't be called on account of rain.

Luckily, the clouds cleared up immediately - just in time for the kids to run outside with a couple of pitchers of delicious iced tea. I got the fire started as Sabrina poured a few glasses of Sweet Raspberry and Southern Sweet Perfect iced tea. As the weather began to warm up, I remembered just how great a cold glass of iced tea is during a summer barbecue. In fact, both of those flavors reminded me of when I was a kid and it was my dad manning the grill - cooking up incredible burgers and hot dogs.

Seems that I wasn't the only person in my neighborhood impatient for the weather to clear up. As the evening wore on, I got some serious whiffs of grilled steak and chicken wafting down my street. It's official - barbecue season is finally here. Now we'll just see if Mother Nature is willing to play along.

Looking for great barbeque recipes? Check out these flame broiled recipes with an interesting Coffee twist  from Green Mountain Coffee’s participation in the Safeway Barbecue Battle last summer.

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Coffee After College

I came to a strange realization over this past weekend while speaking to some of my younger friends who are currently graduating from college - I can no longer really call myself a "recent college grad." It's been just shy of a year since I received my diploma in May 2011, and the knowledge that a whole 12 months have passed since then has me thinking about those immediate post-graduation weeks.

It's oddly nostalgic to hear my buddies talking about taking that plunge into the real world. All the plans they're making, the apprehension of finding a job and place to live - it's certifiably weird to think that I was right there only a year ago. And it's perhaps even stranger to think that I've already moved on to the next step.

In truth, the summer after college graduation was simultaneously one of the best and most terrifying periods in my life. Sure it was nerve-wracking not knowing what my next step would be, but for the first time ever, I had no academic deadlines or concrete responsibilities on the horizon. Instead of enjoying my morning cup of Green Mountain Coffee® at 7 a.m. before class, I could roll out of bed at noon and have it then.

In between bouts of sending out job applications and earning some money as an intern, I spent my days exploring parks near my home, reading the entire A Song of Fire and Ice series (recommended!), finishing marathon viewings of HBO shows, traveling back and forth to the beach, and generally lounging around with my friends who hadn't moved home after graduation.

I'd be lying if I said that I felt like a full-fledged adult now, but there are a few minor signs of maturity that I've recognized. I no longer favor those sweet and delicious coffee blends like Hazelnut or French Vanilla. These days, I take my coffee straight black - the darker the coffee, such as my new favorite, French Roast, the better. I've also bid goodbye to frequent all-nighter sessions due to my early job schedule, which dark coffee also makes much easier.

So my advice to anyone crossing that college graduation finish line this May - cherish the free time you have, because it won't last forever. By no means should you forgo the inevitable job search (especially in this economy), but you should make an equal effort to enjoy every moment of this final summer vacation.

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Digging Into Spring

Spring came to visit us early this year in Vermont. A general lack of snow and surprisingly warm temperature has encouraged folks to get outside a bit sooner than in past years. 

Native Vermont Plants for streamline stabilization projectsRecently, the Domestic Community Outreach team spent a morning taking advantage of our employee volunteer program to support our friends at the Intervale Center.

The Intervale Center is one of Vermont’s most vital nonprofits, with the mission to strengthen community food systems. Since 1988, the Intervale has been dedicated to improving farm viability, promoting sustainable land use and engaging our community in the food system. One of their programs is the Intervale Conservation Nursery, which received funding from our Vermont Employee Community Grant program last fall. The grant will support two restoration projects along local rivers and will increase outreach for the program. The Conservation Nursery sells the native, locally-sourced shrubs and trees to local organizations and government entities for conservation projects, in addition to doing restoration projects independently. In the spring, the Intervale clips small pieces of a variety of local native plants and brings them back to their greenhouse to plant until they can be transplanted outdoors and grown for use in restoration GMCR employees Volunteer at The Intervale Centerprojects around the state.

Karen, Liz and I had a great time planting both Elderberry and Dogwood starts and getting to know the folks who manage the Conservation Nursery. On this sunny day, the greenhouse was a balmy 75 degrees. Between the humid heat & the repetitive routine of planting clippings, we all thought it was a nice little break from our daily office activities, and we each felt great about the difference we were making in our community/state.  In our roles, we spend a lot of time supporting nonprofits from afar- by providing grants or by coordinating opportunities for other employees to get out and volunteer in the community. To actually dig in and volunteer personally with one of the nonprofits we support in both of those ways was very rewarding.

Quite a few other GMCR employees have been out to volunteer with the Intervale in the past month. 

GMCR Employees volunteer at The Intervale CenterOur volunteer experience even inspired our colleagues on the CSR team who work on Supply Chain Outreach to head to the Intervale for an afternoon.  They got more seasonally appropriate weather and an outdoor activity, so they had a slightly different experience that we did, but they also had a wonderful time supporting this local organization. 

Maybe we will all join forces to go back to the Intervale to plant the Dogwood and Elderberry plants in the fields, where they will continue to grow until they are used for a restoration project.  We hope you might consider supporting an organization near you that is making a difference in your community!

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Saturday is National Train Day

Saturday is National Train Day.  As the proud residents of Waterbury’s historic train station, our Green Mountain Coffee® Visitor Center and Café is celebrating in style – arts and craft, music by Steve Lotspeich, coffee – and it looks like a few folks from the Vermont rail will, too! 

This year, the Rail Section of the Vermont Agency of Transportation* is inviting passengers to board the Vermont Rail System’s historic passenger cars, and travel from the Essex Junction Station to our very own Railway Station in Waterbury, and back.  One you’re in Waterbury, there’s a slew of speakers, an inspirational  slide show of the repairs to our Vermont railroads post Irene, railroad exhibits to view at the Waterbury Station, and a chance to stretch your legs and perhaps catch a bite to eat at our Café, or take a look around our wonderful town.  Oh, and face painting by our very own Café team!

 

We hope you have a chance to stop by and enjoy the beauty of these trains.  It’s a great way to travel.


As the conductors say: All aboard!

 

*Not to brag but Vermont Rail Systems recently received national recognition by being named the US Shortline Railroad of the Year by Railway Age!

 

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Mothers Day is a Special Day!

Mother’s Day is the perfect day to recognize your mom for all of her kindness. It is also the perfect day to recognize other moms like your wife, sister, grandmother, or even a favorite aunt. The day gives us all time to reflect on all of the amazing things these important women have done for us and their children.

But what to get someone who’s done so much?  I find it hard to shop for my mom and I am always looking for perfect gift ideas. I am also always on the look-out for the perfect Mother’s Day gift for my wife. I was recently browsing GreenMountainCoffee.com for ideas and had a few things that caught my eye.

For my own mother, who has always liked and collected, on a small scale, hand-made pottery, there is a good selection of fun ceramic mugs and a few choice hand-thrown artisan-crafted pieces. She is a fan of the Native American style glazes and when I saw the Mocha Red River Mug, I immediately thought of her. I think it is the perfect addition to her eclectic pottery collection.  I was also partially persuaded to purchase this for my mother based on the amount of positive reviews it’s received.

Chocolate is always a good way to go for the women in my life. A chocolate cake made from the Molten Chocolate cake mix may be just the right way to say, “Thank you” to my Wife Natasha.  

While looking around on GreenMountainCoffee.com, I noticed there is currently a bundled offer -- buy a Keurig Platinum brewer and get free K-Cup packs plus a Brew Over Ice tumbler - that is hard to refuse. I can easily see my mother, wife or sister using this every day and smiling each time she brews.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Skoll World Forum: Financing Small-Scale Farmers

A few weeks ago I was invited to participate in a panel discussion entitled, “From Farm to Plate: 

Skoll World Foum 2012Financing Change, Changing Finance” at the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship in Oxford, England.   This forum is “the premier, international platform for accelerating entrepreneurial approaches and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing social issues.”

The panel discussion I participated in also included Willy Foote (from Root Capital), Gary Milstead (Head of Procurement, Commodities – Zone EUR for Nestle), and Dana Boggess (Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).  The discussion focused on bringing much needed financing to small-scale farmers and their cooperatives.   The session was well attended – standing room only - and by many accounts, was very well received.

In addition, to the 19 panel discussions over two days, there were Plenary Sessions that included a number of notable speakers and performers such as: Jeff Skoll (founder of the Skoll Foundation and eBay’s first employee and first President), Gordon Brown (former UK Prime Minister), Nick Danziger (Photographer, Author, and Filmmaker), Eve Ensler (Playwright), and Annie Lennox among others.

Rick Peyser speaking at Skoll World Forum

The Forum was held right in Oxford – home of the University of Oxford and its 38 colleges.  Many of the sessions were held on campus.

I attended a variety of discussions that dealt with topics like global population growth, child trafficking, slavery “footprints,” moving beyond charity ( a session that included Skoll Fellow Ned Breslin from Water for People – an NGO that is implementing a GMCR-supported clean water project in Nicaragua).  In addition, I met with John Elkington, the founder of SustainAbility (who first coined the term “triple bottom line), Rupert Scofield (co-founder of FINCA), and Richard Graham from Comic Relief, among others.

Oxford University

While nearly every session and every conversation was focused on specific challenges that are global in scope, I left Oxford more optimistic and motivated than ever to continue the great work our company is doing in Supply Chain Community Outreach, knowing that there are many others who are also working to bring about positive change for the poorest of poor in our world.

You can view the panel discussion I participated in as well as all the discussions that occured at the Skoll World Forum on their website.

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