Business Coffee Service

Over $540,000 in Grants to Knoxville Area Nonprofits

Turtle at Knoxville Zoo

As part of our dedication to supporting communities where we do business we have committed over $540,000 to 25 Knoxville-area non-profit organizations through our Employee Community Grantmaking program. 

Our Employee Community Grantmaking is led by employees, who work together with community leaders to identify and bring resources to the area’s most pressing issues.

GMCR’s production and distribution facility in Knoxville, Tennessee is one of the company’s 12 sites throughout North America.

Each GMCR site has its own focus areas that are specific to its community. Our grants help support the work, but to increase impact, we also strive to connect with our partners and local issues more directly through volunteerism and production donations as well. 

One of the largest of the grants in the Knoxville area, $35,000, went to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley to fund the Educating Tomorrow’s Leaders Program, which includes job training and career development for teens.

“The grant we received from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has produced great results for our teens in the Career Launch and Junior Staff programs,” said Lisa Hurst, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley. “Many of our teens get their first job experience as Junior Staff and learn valuable skills in the process. The funding has helped us teach dozens of teens about career exploration, interview skills, and job expectations, so that they can prepare for their careers as adults.”

The remainder of the grants went to a variety of Knoxville-based organizations that support energy, youth, and educational issues, including:

Energy Use and Efficiency

  • Focus the Nation: $20,000 to promote energy literacy and leadership skills of UTK students.
  • Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center: $20,000 to support earth literacy programs focusing on energy efficiency and alternative energy.
  • Random Acts of Flowers: $4100 to enhance recycling efforts.

Youth and Community Support Services

  • African American Appalachian Arts: $10,000 to support workshops on African American culture, nutrition, and goal setting at the Kuumba Kamp for children.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee: $20,000 for mentoring 50 children in Knox County and East Tennessee.
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains: $28,700 to help teens prepare for their futures “real world” where they will have careers, budgets and responsibilities.
  • Children’s Center of the Cumberlands: $11,700 for medical examinations, therapeutic interventions, mentoring and medication management for at-risk youth.
  • Clearfork Community Institute: $25,000 for an intergenerational leadership program.
  • East TN Children’s Hospital: $10,000 for a community garden project designed to fight childhood obesity.
  • FISH Hospitality Pantries: $11,400 to support the Women’s Community School, the Mosaic Initiative, and Spanish/English cultural exchange.
  • Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries: $50,000 for “LaunchPoint” to help homeless men and women develop a life plan and the skills to achieve it.
  • Second Harvest: $9000 to provide backpacks of nutritious food every Friday to students at risk of going hungry over the weekend.
  • Volunteer Ministry Center: $25,000 for basic life skills training for homeless people.
  • YWCA Knoxville: $30,000 for educational workshops, life skills, and job-readiness counseling for women in transitional housing.

Access to Quality Education

  • Friends of Literacy: $10,000 for an adult reading program.
  • Friends of the Knox County Library: $15,000 to provide one new, age-appropriate book every month to 1250 Knox County children each year.
  • Goodwill Industries: $10,000 to support the Certified Nursing Assistant Training program.
  • Helen Ross McNabb Center: $6500 to purchase curricula for youth with severe mental and/or alcohol and drug issues.
  • Junior Achievement: $50,000 to support in-classroom programs and the Junior Achievement BizTown experience for 150 5th graders from Dogwood Elementary School.
  • Knoxville Area Urban League: $30,000 for a workforce/employment assistance program.
  • Knoxville Symphony Orchestra: $1000 for free, in-school music education concerts.
  • Knoxville Zoo: $35,100 for native pollinator gardens that serve as outdoor classrooms for five inner city elementary schools.
  • tnAchieves: $40,000 for matching funds to assist Jefferson and Claiborn County students pursue post-secondary education.
  • Tribe One: $15,000 for a six-week summer literacy program for children in grades K-6.

The Cafe Goes to The Specialty Coffee Association of America

Tom Berry learning to cup!
Thomas Amelott cupping at the Guatemala country booth!

By Kiley - our famous latte arist at the Visitors Center!

The Special Coffee Association of America threw a fantastic gathering and exposition this year – and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) was the sponsor! Our little Café was lucky to be able to have five of our employees go to bring experiences and stories home in addition to the over 200 GMCR team members that made the journey to the exposition.

The educational lectures brought up points concerning every angle of the coffee business and family from roasting and the science behind it to customer service to the new generation of social media. Our speakers were experienced and deeply involved and embedded in their specific specialties. We were able to see the reach of the business and family. It was incredible!

The people we were able to meet were amazing too. I met people from Kenya, Guatemala, El Salvador, Italy, Mexico, Canada, Colombia, Ethiopia and, of course, from all across the United States. It was quite the experience to meet our large and expansive coffee family. 

We also had the chance to watch the Barista Competitions and the skills shown there were phenomenal. Not only were they producing beautiful latte art but listening to them explain their coffee roasts and blends really brought you into their cup of coffee. The passion seen there was inspiring.

Even working the GMCR booth was fantastic. So many people came up to our booth and so many walked away with a smile. The interest in our coffee left our team with a good feeling too. Having the opportunity to meet and talk with our suppliers, producers, and happy customers really enforced the strong feeling of family and the relationships we so cherish. 

This year has left us with so many memories, new found skills, and inspiration. I hope we will have the chance to meet back up with our Coffee Family and friends again next year!  Back to our Café and Visitor Center we go.  


Grand Reopening of the Visitor Center and Cafe!

This past Saturday we held the grand reopening of the Green Mountain Coffee® Visitors Center and Café - and what a great success it was!  All day long folks stopped by to check things out, see our revitalized space, and warm up (it was only 25-degrees out) with a steaming cup of coffee. Some lucky customers even walked away with great prizes including gift bags full of Green Mountain Coffee goodies (and even a Keurig® brewer or two).

We have to say: The Café staff did a spectacular job reopening the doors. Their friendly greetings and glowing faces really added to the enjoyment of the day. To say the least, we are so happy to see them back in action – particularly when they walked around with a selection of tasty treats was provided by Joan Grenier of Grenier’s Home Bakery.  Yum!

What’s a celebration without music?  Harwood Unions High School’s own a capella group, I Cantori, stopped by and captivated listeners with a selection of holiday favorites on the front porch. True professionals, the group sounded perfect - even in chilly temperatures!

Inspired by the occasion (and by the joyous music), Megan Smith, Vermont’s Commissioner of Tourism & Marketing, spoke about Waterbury and the importance of small towns in Vermont. Revitalizing Waterbury presented Ernie Pomerleau with a community services award for his work in Waterbury – thanks, Ernie!  Missy Gorham, the Café’s Manager, also got the chance to speak, sharing how very happy she is to be back in business after three months of hard work to get everything up and running again. Finally, the group raised their mugs in a toast to the Café staff, commemorating the reopening, the Visitor Center’s 5th year in business and Revitalizing Waterbury’s 20th year.

We are so fortunate to be part of a community that looks out for each other and rally when times get tough. We hope that the Café will continue to embody a sense of community spirit and that locals and visitors alike will come see us to enjoy a warm cup of coffee and the company of family and friends.

Thanks to all those who joined us on Saturday!  We hope to see you again soon. And for those of you who didn’t have the chance, come visit us any day of the week between 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. You’ll be glad you did.

By: Alexa Mucklow, PR Intern


Holiday Gift Ideas from Green Mountain Coffee

When it comes to holiday gifts, there are two schools of thought. Some people love surprises while others take a “wish list” approach. Either way, you want to make sure your presents are perfect. And we’re here to help.

Our team’s pulled together a great online holiday shopping guides that we hope will help you find the right gift for everyone on your list – holiday gift baskets for far away friends, artisan chocolates for the teacher with a sweet tooth, and Keurig® Single Cup Coffee Makers for just about anyone! With our carefully curated collection of gift ideas and stocking stuffers, you’ll find everything you need in record time.  Here are some of our favorites:

For Him:

We’ll admit it: Shopping for men can be tricky. Sometimes you find the perfect gift, only to learn he has already bought it for himself! That is less likely to happen with our unique selection of coffee mugs, rugged gear and high-tech single-cup coffee makers. If he’s particularly adventurous, our Coffee Tours are a great way to discover a new favorite coffee, and make a wonderful gift for coffee lovers who like to try new things. If your young man is still in college, the popular Keurig® Mini Plus has free shipping and is a must for all-night study sessions and early-morning classes.

For Her:

Whether she’s your mom or daughter, sweetheart or friend, treat her to something special from our collection of Gift ideas for Her. Chocolate is always a hit, and several of our offerings will fit easily into her holiday stocking. Encourage her to take a moment for herself with a handcrafted mug, or give her a few extra minutes with the convenience of a Cuisinart® Keurig® Single Cup Coffee Maker. If she likes to entertain, make it easy with our Keurig® K-Cup Carousel or Hot Cocoa K-Cup® Pack Gift.

For the Office:

A gift from our office collection is a perfect way to say “thank you” to everyone who has shared in your business success throughout the year. Chocolate dipped shortbread and biscotti make coffee breaks even sweeter! Thermal mugs keep desk-top coffee warm all morning long. Of course, the best gifts are large enough to share with everyone in the office, so choose from our wide assortment of gift baskets with plenty to go around.

For Everyone:

If time is what you want to give, consider a membership to our Café EXPRESS Coffee Club. Create an account and we’ll send bagged coffee or K-Cup® packs automatically to the address of your choice. They’ll never run out again! Treat your loved one to a coffee and beverage service with the gift of club membership. Send four or more boxes of K-Cup® packs and the shipping will be FREE.

With these ideas by your side, we hope your holiday shopping will be easy as pie!


Pink On Purpose

We’ve been talking a lot about October being Fair Trade Month. It also happens to be National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. Wholesale and our Business Coffee Express service are proud to support the “Pink on Purpose” campaign of the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).

The AICR was founded more than 25 years ago on a simple but radical idea: everyday choices can reduce our chances of getting cancer. They were the first organization to focus research on the link between diet and cancer, and to translate the results into practical information for the public.

AICR’s Pink on Purpose Campaign encourages workplaces to “get pink”: Employees dress in pink, trick out the office in pink decorations, and raise funds for breast cancer research. Once you sign up to host Pink on Purpose, you'll receive an event toolkit that contains pink decorations, promotional materials and breast cancer materials, as well as planning tools and fun ideas.

As prizes for the offices that raise the most money, our Digital team is  is donating Keurig® brewers, K-Cup®portion packs, and coffee gift baskets.

So, wherever you work, please consider getting Pink on Purpose this month. With your help, AICR can have a greater impact on emerging breast cancer research, treatment interventions and prevention programs in labs, clinics, and communities across the country.

Pink on Purpose > Get started



Green Your Office Part 1: 10 Easy, Low-Cost Tips

According to a TIME Magazine article, heating, air conditioning, and electricity for American businesses produce about 40% of our nation’s CO2 emissions and account for around 70% of our power consumption. The following first steps will not only yield a greener office with a smaller carbon footprint, but also promote a happier workplace, and a healthier bottom line. These 10 are just a start. I'll share more in the coming months

1. Use Power Strips

“Phantom loads” occur when devices that appear turned off still draw electricity — such as appliances with digital clocks and electronics with instant-on capability. Office equipment can be bundled onto one power strip for easy switching off when not in use, but make sure the power strips are accessible and visible so everyone remembers to use them.

2. Kick the Bottled Water Habit

It is estimated that Americans toss out over 35 billion plastic water bottles annually, and workplaces are some of the largest sources of that plastic bottle trash. Consider using a water delivery service or buying a water filter for the kitchen faucet along with a supply of reusable cups.

3. Buy Recycled Paper

Opt for 100% recycled content paper, paper towels, and toilet paper. For printed sales and marketing brochures, investigate alternatives in post-consumer recycled paper. Luckily, many recycled paper vendors now sell high post-consumer content recycled products at prices comparable to traditional paper products.

4. Stop Stapling

Use reusable binder clips or paper clips to join pages, or buy a “stapleless” fastener to avoid buying staples altogether. You will keep tons of steel out of landfills.

5. Go Paperless

Employing a cloud-based project management system as much as possible allows team members access to key information resources, without the need for lots of printouts. Some examples of these systems include Jive, BaseCamp, Google Docs, and Wave.

6. Think Outside the Cubicle

Carpools and public transit benefit both the environment and the employees. Initiate some of these simple ideas if you are the business owner or suggest them to your boss:

  • Suggest four-day work weeks or telecommuting. (Working fewer days per week or telecommuting can substantially reduce transportation and fuel expenses.)

  • Ask your employer to offer carpool-matching plans connecting employees with co-workers who live nearby or on the same route to the office.

  • Provide parking incentives such as prime parking spots for carpoolers.

  • Encourage bicycling and walking to the office by conveniently locating bike racks near the workplace.

  • Offer financial incentives for these options.

7. Use Laptops

ENERGY STAR qualified computers can use up to 90% less energy than desktop models so, whenever possible, ditch the desktops.

8. Give the Gift of Green
Whether you are buying a special gift for a client or a present for an office baby shower, try to buy environmentally friendly or Fair Trade items to show that you care about your customers and co-workers as well as the planet.

9. Offer Organic Coffee & Tea

This is our favorite. Ask your office manager to stock organic or Fair Trade coffee for the break room. Ask your co-workers to bring in their favorite coffee mug or water glass and get some mugs (preferably with your company logo) for visiting clients to eliminate disposable cup waste.

10. Track and Celebrate Your Success

Last but not least, post explanations of what you’re doing and how much you’ve accomplished near each “greened space” — and include how the changes make sense environmentally and financially. People tend to respond more favorably when they know the reason behind a decision and feel they are included in the effort rather than having it imposed top-down. Share these and any other green office tips you find with your office mates and consider electing a “Sustainability Manager” to oversee recycling, energy usage, and research more green office alternatives.


How We're Measuring Impact in Coffee Growing Communities

“Improving the quality of life of coffee farmers” – that is the goal of our coffee-community outreach at GMCR. We know the work of our NGO partners and coffeeOrganization participants during Reporting Collaborative cooperatives is making an impact, but how do we measure that impact?

About a year ago, we invited our partners to help develop a tool to monitor and evaluate GMCR funded projects in coffee-communities. We set out to develop a guide that would outline a standard methodology for collecting impact information to be useful to us for future funding decisions but also be useful to the organizations and cooperatives for their work on the ground.

Last week, a year later, we met again to review the Monitoring and Evaluation Guide. What was working? What could be improved upon?

During the two day working collaborative the 9 organizations who attended provided feedback on "field testing" the guide and shared stories about how best to gather the required quantitative metrics and the qualitative “Most Significant Change” stories.   This latter component allows beneficiaries, the farmers themselves, to participate in the project’s evaluation and allows us to understand the stories behind the metrics.

Working on this guide will help us to define success and compare the results of various impactful projects. We’ll also be able to share these successes with other organizations and farmer cooperatives to work together on solutions to improve the lives of those within our supply-chain.

Thank you to our partner attendees, listed below, for their passion and dedication during the collaborative!

Group photo from Reporting Collaborative

Catholic Relief Services
Coffee Kids
The Community Agroecology Network
Grounds for Health
Heifer International
Partners in Heath and EAPSEC
Planting Hope
Root Capital
The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth


Abuzz about the Coffee Industry

This is a guest post written by Colleen Bramhall. Colleen works in our Corporate Social Responsibility Department, managing our Supply Chain Community Outreach programs.

Houston was abuzz last week, in a caffeinated craze for the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) Annual Conference.  Coffee roasters, baristas, importers,

Brewing coffee using the Chemex method

exporters, coffee farmers, gadget manufacturers, and anyone else even tangentially related to the coffee industry converged on a city typically associated with the other black gold to discover the newest trends, make business connections, taste coffees from various origins, and collaborate on issues impacting the industry.

It was my first time attending the SCAA and it was obvious since I was the only one in a hall of 5000+ people looking for milk and sugar to add to my coffee (a true faux-pas when you are tasting brews of the highest quality!).  Fear not, drinkers of Green Mountain Coffee, I’m not a buyer!  I was there to connect with GMCR’s partners and cooperatives that are grantees of our Supply Chain Outreach program.  When your supply chain wraps around the world from Sumatra to Kenya to Colombia and many places in between, this event is a terrific opportunity to meet just about everyone you need to in the same place at the same time.

The conference kicked off with our friends and neighbors from Grounds for Health winning the 2011 Sustainability Award for their

Merling Preza and Michael Sheridan presenting at SCAA (photo by Bryan Clifton, Heifer)

programs to treat and prevent cervical cancer in the coffeelands – an incredible honor in an industry with so many worthy projects focusing on the long term social, economic, and environmental viability of coffee  production.  And there was much excitement to do even more, with the premiere of After the Harvest, a film underwritten by GMCR, which described the problem of seasonal hunger and featured the work we are funding with Save the Children and Heifer International to improve food security for coffee farmers.  We overheard enthusiastic conversations between our Nicaraguan suppliers about getting together to share ideas on confronting the “thin months” within their communities.

Producer cooperatives shared with us their new ideas for projects that will improve quality of life for farmers, such as building co-op management capacity in Honduras and hosting medical missions to Ethiopia.  I sat in on a meeting organized by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to introduce new cooperatives to our GMCR coffee buyer team, the first step in opening new markets and opportunities for them.  We met with Coffee Lifeline which provides agronomy and social radio programming targeting coffee farmers in Rwanda and we learned more about the ambitious plans of Coffee Kids, Food for Farmers, Pueblo a Pueblo, Café Femenino, and many others.

I left on a high – not just because of all the extraordinary java I had consumed – but also because I am part of such a fantastic industry where there is so much potential and interest in collaborating for sustainability.

Coffee Lifeline Radio


Welcome to the Visitor Center

As I write this, it’s 57-degrees and sunny outside the Visitor Center here in Waterbury, Vermont.  I can imagine the sap flowing and the flowers preparing to pop through the wet soil.  It’s hard to imagine that just a few weeks ago we were digging out of over two-feet of snow.  Spring in Vermont is definitely unpredictable.

The winter months at the Visitor Center tend to have a more relaxed pace.  I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with many folks from New England and it’s interesting how many times the same topics come up.  One topic that came up a couple of different times is how important a good cup of coffee is the first thing in the morning.  In fact, many people choose their morning stops based on where they can get a cup of Green Mountain Coffee.  Coffee is such a big part of a person’s morning routine that the difference between starting a day off right or not is based on the quality of coffee in their cup.  A store that keeps their coffee fresh and rotated can see a difference in their traffic flow and can see the value that a brand can give.  Providing quality products and services is what keeps people coming back.  I’m happy to hear that many of our business partners understand this concept and it’s definitely a concept that we work hard to maintain at our store.

Our Visitor Center is located in a working Amtrak station, so we see a lot of folks from different states come in while they're waiting for the train.  Last week, we had over 40 people get dropped off after spending time in Stowe and they couldn’t say enough nice things about our station.  The people that I spoke with were from California, Florida, and Missouri and they couldn’t believe that our station was this beautiful.  The station not only includes our café and gift shop, but also has a lot to offer in respect to interactive displays about Waterbury history and the process of coffee from “tree to cup”, as well as information about Green Mountain Coffee.

I’m so proud of the Visitor Center, not only from the prospective of an employee but also as a lifelong resident of Waterbury.  If you’re planning a trip to the Central Vermont area, I hope that you consider stopping by the Visitor Center to see all that we have to offer, have a cup of coffee, or just to say, “Hi!”


Teaming Up with Fair Trade USA and USAID to Support Brazilian Coffee Farmers

We're pleased to participate with Fair Trade USA and USAID to support sustainable development for Coffee farmers in Brazil.  But instead of us telling you about this partnership, we thought you’d like to hear from Laura Ann Sweitzer, a Producer Services Project Associate at Fair Trade USA.   Read her guest post below, and see her on the ground in Brazil with coffee farmers.


We at Fair Trade USA are so excited to tell you about a new partnership in the world of Fair Trade, one that promotes biodiversity, conservation, and environmental education among Brazil’s coffee growing communities. We are teaming up with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Green Mountain Coffee® for a two year initiative called the Sustainable Sourcing Partnership Project. Our work together will help increase producer organizations’ understanding of and compliance with Fair Trade environmental standards and Brazilian environmental law.

Not only will the initiative support Fair Trade certification for new producer organizations and increase the amount of land under enhanced environmental protection, but the project will also support producer organizations interested in organic production and promote marketplace access for their products. It is a project that recognizes that biodiverse ecosystems form an important foundation for economic and social development, and that Fair Trade can be utilized as a tool for not only sustainable coffee production, but also for community empowerment.

“We fully endorse the goals of the Sustainable Sourcing Partnership in Brazil, which align with Green Mountain Coffee’s commitment to grow purchases of Fair Trade Certified coffee,” said Lindsey Bolger, Senior Director of Coffee Sourcing and Relationships for the Specialty Coffee business unit of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. “We are pleased to participate in this comprehensive program that is focused on helping coffee farming families improve their livelihoods and the biodiversity of their farms. We are confident that this partnership will be a win for consumers and a win for Fair Trade coffee farming families in Brazil.”

Our partnership will build on the success of the recently completed Responsible Sourcing Partnership, which enabled participating farmers to continue making high-volume sales, while diversifying their client bases among new sustainability- and quality-oriented customers like Green Mountain Coffee. These farmers now look to the Sustainable Sourcing Partnership as a wonderful opportunity to direct focus towards sustainability initiatives.

“I am so thankful for the commitment and effort of Fair Trade USA and the Responsible Sourcing Partnership Project,” said Pedro Carnielli from PRONOVA, “the results have been incredible.  We look forward to the opportunity to continue work with Fair Trade USA through a new project, the Sustainable Sourcing Partnership Project. We are grateful for the opportunity to continue working as partners and continue to improve the quality of life for our producer members”

“Our collaboration with the work of Fair Trade USA has been without a doubt an important experience of professional growth and incomparable success” adds Beatriz Souza Pereira from Unipasv, “it has brought us many accomplishments that have deeply strengthened us as an organization.  Thank you for your confidence in us, for your dedication, for the partnership and for our friendship.”

In order to better support farmers and workers like Pedro and Beatriz, the two-year initiative is designed to maximize the sustainability of Brazilian small-holder coffee cooperatives by delivering assistance in three areas:

1) increasing the Brazilian hectareage under cultivation according to Fair Trade’s environmental standards

2) strengthening the ability of Brazilian small-holders to produce organic-certified coffees for export to the U.S. marketplace; and

3) building local capacity for more sustainable agronomy.

In essence, the project advocates for a better world by encouraging the production of coffee that is good for the consumer, the farmer and for the earth. It truly has the potential to positively impact the lives of thousands of Brazilian coffee farmers, giving them the tools necessary to invest in their futures.

“This project personifies the goals of Fair Trade by producing quality products that improve lives and protect the environment,” said Paul Rice, President and CEO of Fair Trade USA. “We’re excited to once again work with USAID and Green Mountain Coffee to promote sustainable and organic agriculture. The results of this program will offer these hard-working farmers long-term business skills and sustainable agriculture practices that will support these communities for generations to come.”


And the Revelation to Action Winners are.....

Panelists at Revelation to Action eventYesterday a big group of Green Mountain Coffee folks road-tripped down to Boston for the Revelation to Action celebration event. It was a great time - with all the finalists in attendance at Cyclorama (Boston Center for the Arts). The day included a keynote speech by Judy Wicks and a panel discussion with Willy Foote, Harry Gold, Lorne Adrian and Janet Wu. The evening concluded with the announcement of the competition winners. We were grateful to have all the finalists there, who are all Changemakers and helped to make this whole endeavor a success. Thank you!

And the winners are....

Wordle at Revelation to Action eventThe three overall competition winners are as follows:

  • Semester in Sustainable Design/Build, Warren, VT: Yestermorrow Design/Build School provides college students with the opportunity for a semester of study and hands-on experience in sustainable design principles and processes.

  • Vermont Food Education Every Day (VT FEED), Shelburne, VT: VT FEED works with schools and communities to raise awareness about healthy food, the role of farms and farmers, and good nutrition, and is a catalyst for rebuilding healthy food systems and cultivating links between classrooms, cafeterias, local farms, and communities.

  • Still Growing Senior Community Rooftop Garden, Bangor, ME: The Hammond Street Senior Center is transforming its rooftop into a downtown urban garden. Seniors who can no longer manage a garden on their own or have downsized into apartments or retirement communities can use this garden to grow vegetables, exercise, and make new friends.

The seven state winners are as follows:

  • Free Primary Health Care for the Uninsured of Greater Hartford, Hartford, CT: Through the use of a mobile medical clinic, this program provides free, high quality primary health care services to an underserved population that has no other means of accessing the health care system.

  • Red Tomato, Canton, MA: Red Tomato coordinates marketing, logistics, and sales to create market opportunities for a regional farm network. By offering supermarkets one-stop access to season-long, farm-identified local food, Red Tomato increases consumer access to local produce and solidifies farm sustainability by ensuring that small and mid-size farmers can compete in today’s wholesale market.Revelation to Action winners

  • Common Ground Country Fair, Unity, ME: The Common Ground Country Fair is a gathering, in the spirit of a harvest festival, which serves to encourage the revival of agriculturally-based rural communities.

  • Recipe for Success Culinary Job Training Program, Manchester, NH: This program helps unemployed/underemployed people gain the skills and experience to seek employment in the food service industry, rescue quality food from entering the waste stream, and provide prepared meals to thousands of needy people in NH.

  • Project Enterprise – Small Loans and Big Connections, New York, NY: This project creates a “Center of Entrepreneurship” where traditionally under-resourced entrepreneurs can receive small loans and a suite of other services that will assist them in building businesses and assets for themselves and their families.

  • DoubleGreen™ Credit Builder Loan Program, The Capital Good Fund, Providence, RI: This program makes $200 loans to Rhode Islanders with no or poor credit history to purchase and install programmable thermostats that lower their energy costs by $180 annually. Borrowers build credit through repayments of the loan and reduce their energy consumption, thereby reducing carbon emissions.

  • Jr. Iron Chef VT, Shelburne, VT: This statewide competition gives students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience preparing and cooking nutritious, farm-fresh foods. The program highlights local agriculture and encourages students to make healthy eating choices and understand more about nutrition and school food systems.


A History Lesson In Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade

Fair Trade Month Quiz:

Question 2: In what year did Green Mountain Coffee sign an agreement with TransFair USA to purchase and promote Fair Trade Certified coffee?

Answer: 2000


Haven’t answered our Fair Trade Quiz question of the day, yet?  Well, why not?  The answer’s right there!  If that isn’t enough for you, the first 100 participants* get a sample of Green Mountain Coffee’s Fair Trade Certified™ Organic House Blend and all answers get entered to the grand prize drawing of 12-months of Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Certified™ Coffees.  Go here to enter:

*Sorry, employees and their immediate family members of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. are not eligible. But keep an eye out for our internal Fair Trade quiz. 



Old Fair Trade Packaging - 2001Green Mountain Coffee has always believed that our highest quality coffees come from coffee communities with a healthy quality of life.  

In our early years, we began to promote coffees from farms and cooperatives that demonstrated a respect for the environment and for coffee producers and their families, We wanted to find a way to communicate these benefits on store shelves and other venues. 

 In 2000, we signed the Fair Trade licensing agreement with TransFair USA.  We committed to grow our Fair Trade line of coffees, with the goal of bringing Fair Trade to mainstream consumers.  At the time, Fair Trade coffee was distributed primarily to natural food cooperatives and health food stores, and was not available in supermarkets, offices and convenience stores.  Our goal the first year was to purchase and sell 300,000 lbs. of Fair Trade Certified coffee.  We sold over 600,000. 


 Since that time, Fair Trade organic coffee has been one of the fastest-growing segments of our business.  In 2002, we began sourcing and new-organic-line-pkgroasting Fair Trade Certified organic coffees for Newman’s Own Organics. 

Today we have over 40 Fair Trade and organic certified offerings.  In FY08, sales of Fair Trade Certified™ coffees represented 28% of our overall company sales.  Over the years, our efforts to "mainstream" Fair Trade have paid off.  Fair Trade coffees are now available far beyond natural food sections of stores to mainstream supermarkets, offices, convenience stores, and food service locations.


For Green Mountain Coffee, Fair Trade has been a "win-win-win" - a win for coffee farming families, a win for our company, and a win for our customers.  By helping coffee producers achieve economic security and diversification, we are also strengthening coffee communities and offering better quality coffee to our customers – and growing our businesses in the process.


- Sandy



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


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.


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.


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!


Happy Earth Day - Changing Climate Change Grant Winners!

One way we are celebrating Earth Day here in Vermont is by announcing the four winners of our "Changing Climate Change" grant challenge.  


About 6 weeks ago, we put out a "Request for Proposals", looking for organizations working on the issue of climate change in four specific areas:  threats to coffee-growing communities, transportation-related emissions, building political will, and empowering individual action. We are thrilled to announce the winners here today!


Threats to Coffee-Growing Communities: CIAT/CRS


We selected the proposal submitted jointly by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT, ) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS, ). They will be using their grant to forecast the impacts of climate change in coffee-growing communities and help smallholder coffee farmers identify, evaluate, and implement adaptation strategies.


Based on the latest climate change science, we believe this project has the potential to make a seminal contribution to both the developing world and the coffee industry. The project will help coffee-growing communities and the coffee industry understand and plan for the effects of climate change on both livelihoods and supply chains. The work will directly address adaptation for coffee-growing communities in a participatory manner.


Transportation-Related Emissions: New England Transportation Institute


New England Transportation Institute ( ), in partnership with the University of Vermont Transportation Research Center ( ), will conduct an in-depth analysis of transportation patterns in the rural Northeast to help inform policy-makers on the likely adoption and ultimate effect of different transportation strategies on greenhouse gas emissions levels.


We believe this analysis models the kind of data-based research on transportation patterns that can ultimately make the transition to more responsible transportation methods possible more quickly. This analysis will provide important and powerful information for policy-makers in rural New England and its methodology will be replicable in other regions of the country and the world.


Building Political Will: Ceres


Ceres ( ) will mobilize its business and investor partners to make the economic case for bold U.S. climate and energy legislation. These leaders will take their message to legislators and the media.


Through its network, Ceres is uniquely positioned to bring business, investors, and civil society together to deliver a coherent and credible message on climate and the economy to our legislators. Ceres' approach is also rooted in consensus science. As a business, we felt this was the strongest and most appropriate voice we could bring to bear on the political debate over emissions, clean energy, and the addressing both the causes and impacts of climate change.


Empowering Individual Action: National Parks Conservation Association


The National Parks Conservation Association ( ) will encourage and empower national park visitors to "Do Your Part" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the use of an online carbon calculator and social network. Outreach will include dozens of national parks and their local communities, the web, and hundreds of schools.


This project will drive action by connecting with individuals around an expressed interest - usage of the National Park System - and providing the information, tools and community necessary to help support long-term emissions-reducing behavior change. With nearly 300 million visitors to the national parks system annually, this project provides tremendous leverage in its ability to reach vast numbers of people in a meaningful and relevant way.


As a reader of this blog, you probably know we promoted the grant challenge on our network site at, inviting organizations to submit synopses of their ideas and encourage their friends, relatives, and constituencies to comment on the proposals.  


We had three goals in mind when we decided to promote the challenge on JustMeans:

  1. Generate conversation – conversation about climate change, the submission ideas, and our company’s actions in support of our commitment to the environment;

  2. Use online tools to build a social network of stakeholders interested in staying connected with us on issues of social and environmental responsibility; and 

  3. Provide an input to our decision-making process


The challenge was as successful as we could have hoped!  The JustMeans site received more than one million page hits, over 100,000 unique visitors, and created an online social network of nearly 30,000 stakeholders interested in “Changing Climate Change.”  And more importantly, we found four great organizations, each of which will receive $200,000 over the next 5 years to contribute to fighting climate change.


Check out the challenge page at or follow us on twitter:  @brewbetterworld


Happy Earth Day!!



GMCR and Root Capital at the Clinton Global Initiative

Last week, I had the honor of representing Green Mountain Coffee Roasters at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, as we made a joint Commitment to Action with Root Capital to improve the financial literacy and management skills of rural-based businesses in Latin America and Africa, which include many of Green Mountain Coffee’s coffee suppliers.

Jane Wales, Chair of the Clinton Global Initiative’s poverty alleviation working group, recognized William Foote, President and Founder of Root Capital, and me, on behalf of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, on stage as part of a session focused on cutting-edge efforts to enhance agricultural productivity and inventive models that help small farmers gain access to markets.

View the webcast here or listen to the podcast here:  Part I or Part II.

Our commitment was to support Root Capital’s efforts to expand its financial training with a five-year, $450,000 grant – the largest single grant in the coffee company’s history. Since its launch, Root Capital has provided more than $100 million in loans to cash-strapped farmers, artisans, and other small-holder producers, including nearly $50 million specifically to Green Mountain Coffee suppliers.  

In 2006, with our support, Root Capital launched a pilot financial education and training program in northern Latin America and has since provided financial education to 1,300 business leaders from 50 grassroots businesses in northern Latin America.

Our new commitment is part of our continued dedication to supporting the coffee-growing communities that make up our supply chain (learn more here) and will support Root Capital in the next critical growth stage of its innovative PorFin financial literacy program. Through this partnership, we will enable Root Capital’s launch of the program in South America and Africa, addressing the immediate need for strong financial management within grassroots businesses, while building the long-term financial capacity of entire rural communities. In total, from 2009 to 2012 Root Capital will build the financial expertise among the leaders of 150 grassroots businesses, representing nearly 100,000 farmers and artisans in 12 countries.

Root Capital’s innovative work in providing financial services to the underserved global community of grassroots businesses has helped us better serve all our stakeholders and meet our own goals around reducing poverty and hunger in the communities we touch.  Our partnership helps create economic opportunity, supports entrepreneurial activity, and provides economic incentives for sustainable natural resource management in rural communities worldwide.


Helping Mexican Farmers Expand Health Services

Laura Tilghman of Sustainable Harvest recently sent us this report from Oaxaca, Mexico.  We very much appreciate all the great work that Sustainable Harvest does at Origin.

About two weeks ago, late on a Wednesday evening, I was standing in the Veracruz, Mexico airport, the air thick with tropical humidity even inside the terminal. I was waiting for Dr. Richard Hirsh,

Co-op executive committee members stand with Dr. Hirsh and Josafat, the Huatusco municipal President

 a radiologist who Green Mountain had enlisted to come to Mexico and evaluate the viability of helping the Huatusco coffee cooperative bring mammography services to their town. The cooperative has a strong program to help its members access health services, and the farmers have worked with support from Green Mountain and Grounds for Health to open a women's health clinic at the local hospital. Adding mammography services was the co-op's next goal.

Rick Peyser had asked me if I would volunteer my time to accompany Dr. Hirsh on his evaluation trip. So after picking up Dr. Hirsh at the airport, we set off on a whirlwind two day trip. With the leaders of the Huatusco cooperative always at our sides, Dr. Hirsh and I were able to accomplish a lot --- meetings with hospital staff and administrators in both Huatusco and the neighboring city of Cordoba, meetings with the municipal president in Huatusco, meetings with state-level representatives from the Veracruz health system, and even a breakfast with the cooperative's community health promotors.

During one meeting in particular, I witnessed first hand how support from Green Mountain (as well as entities like Grounds for Health and Sustainable Harvest) helps the co-op navigate the complicated state and federal bureaucracies. The meeting was tense. State health officials, the co-op executive committee, Dr. Hirsh and myself, were discussing the possibility of the project to donate a mammography machine and training for the hospital staff in Huatusco. The state representatives began insisting that the mammography project should not be carried out in Huatusco, but rather in the city of Cordoba. (The Cordoba hospital is over an hour drive from the town of Huatusco and is where Huatusco patients in need of specialized care are often referred.) The conversation became a tug of war over the mammography resources and training that Dr. Hirsh was offering, and the state officials were lobbying hard to implement the project in Cordoba.

In response, the Huatusco co-op manager Josafat began, "I would like to remind everyone here of the genesis of this project." He continued, pointing out that Dr. Hirsh's visit and the potential mammography machine donation were generated by the coffee cooperative's request to its international client and partner, Green Mountain, for assistance in serving the women of Huatusco. Josafat pointed out that while state and local support were important for the project, ultimately the project had to meet Green Mountain's expectations that the mammography services would be brought to Huatusco, where the company's business interests and relationships were located. Listening to Josafat, Dr. Hirsh whispered to me, "Wow, he's good." Josafat knew that using Green Mountain's support and the international business it brought was a powerful point of leverage for the farmers, and he used it well to argue the case for the mammography project's implementation in Huatusco. In that moment, I witnessed one way that the direct relationships between the Huatusco coffee cooperatives and Green Mountain empowers the farmers to better serve their community.

After the meeting, standing in the parking lot outside the building, Dr. Hirsh and the cooperative agreed that if they can get approval from the state and local health officials, they will bring mammography services to the town of Huatusco in 2009. Thank you again for inviting me to support this project for the coffee farmers and the community of Huatusco.

Laura Tilghman
Sustainable Harvest at Origin
Oaxaca, Mexico

We use coffee beans from the Huatusco coffee cooperative in many of our coffees, including Mexican Decaf Huatusco Cooperative

Most of this copy comes to us courtesy of our good friends at Sustainable Harvest whose mission is to improve farmers’ lives by creating a transparent and sustainable coffee supply chain, ensuring that quality coffees are sourced from the finest producers and that coffee arrives reliably in its highest quality state to preeminent coffee roasters.


GMCR and Tully's

Big news for us here in Waterbury, VT.  Please click on the link below to read today's press release:

GMCR Announces Asset Purchase Agreement for Acquisition of the Tully’s Coffee Brand and Wholesale Business

Learn more at the Investor Services section of our web site.