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Happy Engineers Week!

GMCR Engineers Use 'Out of the Box' Ideas for In-the-Box Solutions 

 

Engineers are known for their problem solving and analytical thinking. At Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) we put this to the test and encourage our team members to literally think outside of the box and have fun doing it! Recently, teams of engineers were challenged to come up with innovative and sustainable packaging ideas for Keurig® home brewer models.

Incorporating passion and innovation in all that we do, GMCR creates engaging, hands-on activities for our employees with a purpose. Conducted at our new state-of-the-art facility in Burlington, Mass., 13 teams competed to create sustainable material packaging ideas to protect a Keurig® brewer when falling 20 feet. Some of the winning ideas are going to be considered to improve our designs for future packaging.

“At GMCR, we strive to do what best for our customers and the environment,” said Jim Shepard, GMCR Director of Brewer Engineering. “The engineering group is constantly pursuing ways to reduce our non-renewable waste stream and the sustainable drop test competition was a way to fully embrace and challenge the way we are currently packaging our products”

While many engineers have participated in the classic egg drop experiment in the past, at GMCR, we up the ante and conduct a drop contest using Keurig® home brewers. Not only was the purpose to give our engineers an exciting way to work together, it also provides GMCR an opportunity to explore innovative ways to improve our packaging. The teams were judged on a variety of criteria after the boxes were dropped including, brewer functionality, aesthetics of the master carton, aesthetics of the brewer and sustainable materials used for the packaging.

“It was great to challenge our engineers to think out of the box about what goes into the box,” said Shepard.

At GMCR, we strive to create an environment where sparking our team member’s curiosity and imagination can continue to shape our future by redefining the consumer experience.  

So, wish all of your engineer colleagues and friends a very Happy Engineers Week and be sure to check out our GMCR page, to give you a further look into our career ideals as well as our promise of enriching your culture to Brew a Better World with us! 

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Winston: A Day in the Life


My daughter is only 4 years old, but all of a sudden she's very interested in what I do at work. She knows I work at GMCR, though she says "the coffee place". When she sees one of the tractor trailers around town or on the highway, covered with our logos, she says, "there's Daddy's work!"

 

It's funny when you distill your job down for a 4 year old when you come home at night:

 

Daughter: "Daddy, what did you do today?"

Me: "Oh the usual"

Daughter: "I know, but tell me"

Me: "Ok, I drank coffee [yes occupationally, as a cupper!], I wrote some emails, I answered some emails, I went to a few meetings, and here I am."

Daughter: "But you do that everyday! Why don't you do something different?!"

Me: "Because that's my job"

 

 

And then thankfully it's time for dinner or there's some other distraction.

 

My work isn't always the same, however. 3 weeks ago I was in Costa Rica with 11 fellow employees visiting our coffee suppliers on an Origin Trip. I'm one of the co-leaders and aside from being a chaperone, translator, cat herder, time manager, and "bottled-water-orderer", the main job is to connect our employees with coffee farmers in our supply chain and vice-versa. Introducing folks, translating for them, helping with small talk. It's fun, but it's hard to describe to my daughter. So I show her pictures (and I'm showing them to you as well) and say, look dear, here's Daddy doing his job!" 

 

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Volunteering with Stop Hunger Now

Volunteerism is a key element of the culture at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR). We want our employees to feel engaged and volunteerism is one critical means of accomplishing that goal. Together, our Company and our people can make a difference within our communities, while simultaneously benefiting our business as a whole.

We incorporate volunteerism into events like our annual Employee Appreciation Day. This year, employees at three of our locations volunteered during employee appreciation events to package meals with a national non-profit, Stop Hunger Now.  Employees worked in teams to package meals that will be sent to hungry children and families all over the world.  The teams filled bags with food items, weighed them, added or removed rice to get them to a specific weight, sealed them, and carefully packaged them in boxes. Stop Hunger Now’s meal program perfected the assembly process that combines rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and a flavoring mix including 21 essential vitamins and minerals into small meal packets. Each meal costs only 25 cents. The food stores easily, has a shelf-life of two years and transports quickly. Stop Hunger Now works with international partners that ship and distribute the meals in-country.

216 GMCR employees helped package more than 65,000 meals during the three events. Employees whose volunteer shifts were over stayed for second shifts and their enthusiasm and hard work were noticed by the Stop Hunger Now staff. 

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Partnering for Health in Mexico

September 2013, Chiapas, Mexico. CES-supported social service physician Dr. Mercedes Aguerreberre listens to a woman's heart and lungs during a monthly mobile outreach visit to the remote town of Lagunita.

September 2013, Chiapas, Mexico. CES-supported social service physician Dr. Mercedes Aguerreberre listens to a woman's heart and lungs during a monthly mobile outreach visit to the remote town of Lagunita.

GMCR is proud to partner with a diverse range of organizations working to tackle the issues faced by farmers, workers, and families within our product supply chains.

Health and accessibility to adequate health care is a pressing issue for many of our coffee supply chain communities. In the quest to address this challenge, GMCR joined forces with Boston-based NGO Partners In Health by providing a three-year grant of $1,310,577 to support the work of Compañeros En Salud, their sister organization working in the Sierra region of Chiapas, Mexico.

The pictures below depict the project in action, showcasing the vital work Partners In Health carries forward in the coffeelands.

For more information on Partners In Health, please visit: www.pih.org.

Social Service physician and resident jointly examine a young patient

September 2012, Chiapas, Mexico. CES-supported social service physician Dr. Gabriela Chalup and family medicine resident Dr. Brea Bondi-Boyd work together to assess a young patient. Through CES' unique training and mentorship program, medical residents provide intensive one-on-one bedside teaching to social service physicians in rural clinics. 

Mexican and U.S. physician work together to place EKG leads

September 2012, Chiapas, Mexico. CES-supported social service physician Dr. Valeria Macias and GHE resident Dr. Patrick Elliott together place EKG leads in a primary care clinic. This diagnostic capability is rarely accessible outside of large cities or for no cost, and allows timely diagnosis of several cardiac conditions. Dr. Elliott is providing intensive bedside teaching to Dr. Macias through CES' unique training and mentorship program.

Social Service physician with a young girl

September 2012, Chiapas, Mexico. CES-supported social service physician Dr. Gabriela Chalup looks up from examining a young girl in the rural Plan de La Libertad primary care clinic. Plan de La Libertad is three hours by car from the nearest referral center.

 

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Giving Thanks

 

We hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving! After you are stuffed with turkey, cranberry sauce, and shared plenty of laughs and memories with family and friends, we want to know: what have you given thanks for this year?

Here are some of ours:

Kristen Mercure: "Friends, family, and colleagues always make my Thanksgiving list.  I would not be the same person without their influence, kindness, and vivre!  But this year, I’m also thankful to delicious eats, sweet treats, and readers who put up with our antics J  Thanks to you, dear readers!  Now: time to dig into some leftovers!"

Hannah Hassler: "I’m thankful for…Family....Health.....My new Treadmill so I can eat more pie :) !"

Amanda Cooper: "I am thankful for great family and great coffee! I love that I work for a company where I can introduce my family to great coffee as well as all the important work GMCR does to help "Brew a Better World".  My brother loves our Fair Trade Seasonals and I'm very partial to our Special Reserves!"

Amy Klinger: "This time of year in Vermont, I'm thankful for ice scrapers, wood stoves, big pots of soup, and of course, the white fluffy stuff that makes skiing so much easier."

Briana Keene: "Family, friends, good health and happiness. Thanksgiving is a great time to kick back, enjoy scrumptious foods and watch some football. I love this time of year especially for all the yummy fall desserts and activities that are all around us this season! I will always love a cup of my favorite Pumpkin Spice as well."

 

Cheers to another great holiday!

 

 

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Supporting Our Troops and Honoring Veterans Day

Veterans Day is a day when Americans pay tribute to those who serve our country.  Here at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) we honor our troops and we like to bring them a taste of home by providing coffee donations.  There’s a history of the military and their coffee; this article from The New York Times talks about it being their secret weapon.    

Fisher House is an organization that provides comfort homes built on the grounds of major military and veteran medical centers.  These homes enable family members of veterans to be close to their loved ones when the veterans are receiving in-hospital treatment for unexpected illness, disease, or injury.  GMCR provides a monthly coffee donation to over 20 Fisher House locations as well as several veterans hospitals.  Easy access to a good cup of coffee can be a small but meaningful comfort during the healing process.  The video below provides a great summary of Fisher House and their tremendous work.  

We also support active duty military personnel through a strategic partnership with an organization called Holy Joe’s Café.   Through this partnership we ship thousands of brewers and millions of K-Cup® packs to over 31 bases in combat zones.  Holy Joe’s Café provides coffee in a café-like setting where the troops can go for support from the Chaplains, listen to music on open mic nights, or just enjoy a great cup of Green Mountain Coffee®.

Our employees in Massachusetts often volunteer with Pease Greeters.  This group greets and thanks troops arriving and departing from Pease International Airport. 

We are proud to support our troops and veterans through these channels and believe these relationships help us get our coffee and brewers in the hands of more military personnel, and show our appreciation in the most equitable way possible.

In the words of Chaplin L. Ray, Hospital Corpsman, 3rd Class USN, “I’ve learned it’s the little things that matter most.  It’s that hot mug of coffee, it’s that letter from home, it’s a hug and a shoulder to cry on.  That’s what matters the most.  And it’s so much more than a hot mug of coffee or tea, to me.  It’s my touch of home!”

Thank you to all those that serve, to your families, and to all who support our veterans.

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Safe Water, Food security, and Livelihoods for Coffee Growing Communities

Water Project in Nicaragua

Nicaragua, nestled in between Honduras and Costa Rica in Central America, is one of the countries in Latin America where GMCR sources coffee. Despite its abundant natural resources, one of Nicaragua’s challenges is access to clean, potable water.

In 2012, GMCR funded a water initiative with local Nicaraguan NGO    CII-ASDENIC entitled “Safe Water, food security, and livelihoods for coffee growing families and communities”. The grant, totaling nearly one million dollars will impact 859 families in 10 coffee growing communities in Northern Nicaragua over three years.  By supporting access to clean water, we are ensuring that farmers and families in these communities are able to lead healthier lives, absorbing the nutritional benefits provided by the food that they eat.

In the first month of the project, a strategic action plan was developed and a Potable Water and Sanitation Committee was formed (CAPS), both will help ensure the project’s sustainability past the 3 year GMCR support. Keeping on target with fortifying food security for 30% of participating families, 86 families have received home gardens and helped decide which types of produce will be grown.

Some upcoming activities we’ll be seeing from the project are construction of a drinking water system, training campaigns on nutrition, and school gardens implementation

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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.
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Harvesting with Vermont Youth Conservation Corps

GMCR Employees Volunteering at VYCC (Photo by Kristopher Crown)

                                      (Photo by GMCR Employee Kristopher Crown)

Recently a group of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) employees spent the day at one of our grantees Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) to harvest, wash, and pack fresh vegetables from the VYCC gardens in Richmond, Vermont to support a commonly shared goal – food security for all.

The employees worked to harvest enough onions, carrots, dill, basil, eggplant, garlic, cilantro, tomatoes, and other fresh vegetables to fill 230 boxes for the VYCC’s weekly Health Care Share. Through the Health Care Share in-season food is donated to families that don’t have access to locally grown fresh food.  Health Care Shares are distributed weekly from VYCC to area hospitals from July through September.

Volunteering at the VYCC gave our employees an appreciation for how much work it takes to get food from the ground onto the table. Without the help of volunteers, the VYCC could not donate the amount of food they do now. 

When employees volunteer for organizations that we support through our Employee Community Grant Program it results in more meaningful relationships with these local nonprofit organizations.

Watch the video below to learn more about Vermont Youth Conservation Corps' work:

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Wrapping Up River Cleanup: What We Didn't Expect to Find

Last week marked Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc.'s (GMCR) ninth annual Vermont River Cleanup event. After several days of removing trash, canoeing down the river, and getting sufficiently covered in mud, over 250 Vermont-based GMCR employees successfully removed hundreds of tires and endless amounts of trash from the Winooski River.

Last year, GMCR volunteers removed almost 1,000 tires from the Winooski River during the five day event, which took place a year after Hurricane Irene devastated Vermont. This year, volunteers were shocked to see that only a year later, there was still an abundance of trash and tires to be removed once again. On the first day alone, 120 tires were removed from the water and banks of the Winooski River.

Among the expected trash that was found, volunteers also removed some other strange items from the murky waters. When I made my way down to the river to check out the action, I was surprised to see some of these obscure items surfacing. Among them was…

  • A muddy and beat up orange traffic cone
  • A long lost doll who had definitely seen better days
  • A few rusty hub caps
  • A ceiling fan that only held on to one blade
  • A red baby swing
  • A very soggy and very muddy sleeping bag
  • A broken white plastic lawn chair
  • A window screen
  • Plenty of old shoes with no pair

This list is a mere snapshot of the variety of items that were pulled from the river this week. GMCR employee’s dedication to helping their local communities shines through during the week of River Cleanup. The Winooski River is cleaner and clearer thanks to the employees who took time out of their days to jump in canoes and dig through the mud and water last week.
 

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Goat-Raising Center in Guatemala Opens

Isabella feeds a goat at Save the Children's goat center in Guatemala.

Earlier this month the sleepy Mayan village of Aldea El Paraiso in the Guatemalan Quiché highlands was buzzing with action during an opening ceremony of a new goat-raising center, hosted by the non-profit organization Save the Children in partnership with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The center is part of a goat milk program designed to help chronically malnourished children get the key nutrients they need to be healthy and grow. 

Maria with Goat Milk from Save the Children's Goat-Raising Center

“One of the worst places in the world for chronic child malnutrition is not found in the brown deserts of Africa, but in the green mountains of Latin America,” said Carlos Carrazana, Save the Children’s Chief Operating Officer. “In Guatemala, nearly one in two children under the age of 5 is chronically malnourished, meaning they don't get enough of the right kinds of food each day to fuel their growing brains and bodies.”  
 
Among indigenous populations in rural parts of El Quiché, the situation is even worse.  The region’s lush, rolling hills mask a hidden hunger crisis affecting 72 percent of its children under 5.  That’s why Save the Children, with support from GMCR and USAID, has opened the goat-raising center to offer milk as a source of protein for malnourished children in the region.
 
The center currently houses 85 goats (it has capacity for 300) and will serve 115 surrounding communities. Over the next three to five years, 2,200 families and more than 3,500 children will benefit from the goat center.  In addition to providing milk for children, the program teaches families how to generate income year-round by raising goats and other farm animals, selling surplus milk, and making cheese and yogurt. 
 
Programs like this support our work to create a Resilient Supply Chain
 
Help Save the Children reach children in Guatemala and all over the world by donating today.
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Streamline Restoration with the Intervale Conservation Nursery

GMCR Employees volunteering at Intervale Conservation Nursery

The weather in Vermont the past few weeks has been wet. So wet that Lake Champlain and many rivers are at or above flood level. It is events like this that remind us of the importance of streamline work like that done by the Intervale Conservation Nursery.

 In early June, the employees working in the Specialty Coffee Category Team based in Waterbury volunteered at the Intervale Conservation Nursery in Burlington, VT.  The team spent the day planting Silky Dogwood and Black Willow seedlings that will eventually be used in riparian restoration projects.  Tree growth along riverbanks helps greatly reduce pollution in rivers which then flows into Lake Champlain.  Riverbanks without trees suffer from decreased soil quality due to run off of topsoil.  Trees can also help to filter phosphate pollution that can create algae blooms in the lake.

The team activity was planned by Lesley Graham, a Waterbury CAFE Captain.  CAFE Captains are employees who are passionate about volunteering and want to share that with others by planning their own volunteer activities.  Lesley connected with the Intervale to determine what they needed help with, recruited her team to participate in the activity, and coordinated all aspects of the day.  The team enjoyed their experience so much that they plan on going in the fall to plant mature native species along the riverbanks; Lesley is planning that activity too!  Many GMCR employees have also volunteered with Intervale over the years and they greatly appreciate the support of all our employees.

GMCR Employees Volunteering at Intervale Conservation Nursery

The Intervale Conservation Nursery has been a grant recipient of the Vermont Employee Community Grant Program for the past two years.  This year, our grant of $31,000 supports expanded volunteer and educational opportunities at the Nursery, the creation of an onsite outdoor classroom, and the growth of local trees and shrubs for riparian restoration projects in Vermont. 

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Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Named Business Leader in Energy Efficiency

Photo of GMCR's Plant in Essex, VT (Photo by Alex Eshelman)

(Photo by Alex Eshelman)

We are proud to share that we've has been named a 2013 “Northeast Business Leader for Energy Efficiency”.  We were nominated by Efficiency Vermont, and are being honored for our efforts that reduced our yearly energy costs by more than $725,000. The award is given annually by Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP), a non-profit energy efficiency advocacy organization, to highlight the energy-saving achievements of organizations throughout the region.

“We are proud to recognize GMCR for their success and commitment to energy efficiency,” said Sue Coakley, Executive Director of NEEP. “GMCR provides an excellent example of how energy saving investments can improve a company’s bottom line, contribute to economic growth, and reduce environmental impact.”

We were selected for recognition for our efficient approaches to lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, and industrial process equipment in its Waterbury, Essex, and Williston plants and for construction of our facility in South Burlington. In addition, we are being honored for our ongoing monitoring of energy use, to maintain continuous awareness of building and equipment performance.

“GMCR has shown a strong commitment to energy efficiency – not just in its buildings but also in every facet of its operations,” said Jim Merriam, Director of Efficiency Vermont. “We are proud to be a longstanding partner of GMCR, and we look forward to supporting their continuing innovation and success.”

“Our exceptional growth rate over the past five years has provided us with a great opportunity to create systems and buildings that are both functional and energy efficient,” said Mick Muscat, Facilities Engineering Manager for GMCR. “We are extremely fortunate that the company supports these dual objectives. With this support, we are able to significantly increase our energy efficiency.”

We will be recognized, along with winners from neighboring states, in Springfield, Massachusetts on June 18-19, 2013 at the Northeast Energy Efficiency Summit. The gathering brings together regional leaders in public policy, business, energy efficiency, and consumer and environmental advocacy to advance energy efficiency as the leading clean energy resource for the Northeast.

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Pueblo a Pueblo receives Sustainability Award during 25th Annual SCAA Conference

April 2013 marked the 25th annual Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) conference; the largest specialty coffee conference in the world which recently took place in Boston.

Amongst the event’s highlights was the work of Pueblo a Pueblo, a non-profit organization focused on improving the lives of indigenous Guatemalans and this year’s recipient of the Sustainability Award in recognition of their Organic School Garden project in Guatemala. The award honors individuals and organizations, within the specialty coffee industry, working to create substantial positive change through projects that promote sustainability.

GMCR proudly partners with Pueblo a Pueblo and has supported the Organic School Garden project in Guatemala for over 2 years. The project seeks to improve the lives of those living in coffee growing communities in Guatemala though strengthening food security at the household level and diminishing malnutrition levels for school-aged children.

In 2012, 1,151 children attended weekly garden activities and 86 teachers and directors received trainings on organic agriculture techniques. This project has been complimented by school initiatives, including incorporation of the produce harvested from the organic school gardens into school lunches.  In addition, the provision of a daily meal has increased school attendance, students’ learning capability and improvement in the overall health of participating children resulting from the increased diversity of food in their diet.

Below is a video which highlights their great work in Guatemala

For all their admirable work and tremendous positive change created in Guatemala, we congratulate Pueblo a Pueblo on their Sustainability Award.

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Rebuilding a Primary Health Care System in Rural Mexico

 

Doctor with Patient in Chiapas

Below is an except from Partners In Health around their and sister organization Compañeros En Salud (CES) work in southeast Chiapas. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc, (GMCR) is funding this project to revitalize a primary health care system in the long-neglected region.

" “I didn’t know what to expect,” Dr. Abelardo Vidaurreta says. “I didn’t know where I was going.”

Such uncertainties were rare for the 27 year old. But after finishing medical school at Tecnológico De Monterrey, an elite university that produces some of Mexico’s finest physicians, Vidaurreta ditched the urban commodities he was accustomed to and went to work with Partners In Health’s sister organization Compañeros En Salud (CES) in southeast Chiapas. It’s among the poorest and most isolated regions in Mexico, nestled at the tip of the country along the Guatemalan border. 

The move wasn’t entirely impulsive. In Mexico, newly graduated medical students are required to spend a year working in a public health clinic to earn their professional license. Often they’re assigned to far-flung outposts with few resources and even less oversight. This baptism-by-fire approach can be overwhelming. It can also be frustrating, especially for the community members who are left seeking medical care from a rotating cast of fresh-faced doctors who’ll stick around for only a year. 

Vidaurreta had heard of CES when his social service year arrived, but he didn’t know much about the group, let alone its plans to revitalize a primary health care system in a long-neglected region. Doubts loomed when he agreed last February to be among the first doctors to spend a year working alongside CES in Chiapas.

“I thought I was going into the jungle,” Vidaurreta says. “I thought I was going to be alone.”

Now, as CES—whose work is supported by Vermont-based Green Mountain Coffee Roasters—celebrates its first anniversary and more than 10,000 patient consultations, Vidaurreta jokes that he was wrong on both counts. The landscape is more Martian than jungle, marked by towering mountains and a startling lack of infrastructure. And while he would encounter countless challenges in the field, he wasn’t going to be tackling them alone.  A core mission of CES is to alleviate that daunting sense of solitude by pairing the new doctors, known as pasantes, with resident physicians from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. 

“They’re doing all the work,” says Dr. Patrick Newman, 29, one of the first resident physicians from Brigham and Women’s to take part in the program. “But we see their consults with them, answer their questions, help guide their thinking, help to challenge their thinking, and encourage their ongoing growth.” Newman is quick to point out that the exchange of insight flows both ways. For instance, he recalls visiting a family whose newborn had a cleft palate. His instinct was to hospitalize the baby, insert a feeding tube, and perform surgery when the child reached an appropriate weight—standard procedure in the U.S. 

“That was my first suggestion. But it was obvious after talking with the pasante and visiting the family that doing so would result in absolute and total financial ruin for the family,” Newman says.  “You have to understand that there are cultural aspects to care that the pasantes are going to understand better than we ever will.”

In the area where CES works, patients might travel more than an hour for a simple blood test. Getting to a hospital could take half a day. And though there are brick-and-mortar clinics, it’s been years in most cases since a full-fledged physician has staffed one. To make sure the pasantes are equipped to provide the best possible care in this difficult setting, they receive monthly visits from CES staff and attend regular workshops.In the area where CES works, patients might travel more than an hour for a simple blood test. Getting to a hospital could take half a day. And though there are brick-and-mortar clinics, it’s been years in most cases since a full-fledged physician has staffed one. To make sure the pasantes are equipped to provide the best possible care in this difficult setting, they receive monthly visits from CES staff and attend regular workshops."

To read the full article with images, visit Partners In Health's website

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Brewing the "Millennium Challenge Macchiato"

Below is a Guest Post by Jonathan Bloom from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). On April 29th, MCC awarded GMCR with its 2013 Corporate Award. 

"At the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), we work with partners across the world. By the time I arrive at the office, there are often emails from Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America that need a quick response.

That’s why the coffee pot is my first stop each morning. And that’s why a coffee addict like me was thrilled to hear that we are honoring Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) with our Corporate Award for its sustainability work to improve the lives of the world’s vulnerable populations.

The award got me thinking on a recipe for a great new drink using the products of both Green Mountain Coffee and MCC’s beneficiaries from across the world. So prepare to treat your taste buds with the Millennium Challenge Macchiato.

Millennium Challenge Macchiato

1)      Start with Green Mountain's Sumatran Lake Tawar whole-bean coffee from Indonesia and grind as fine as possible. As you brew the perfect shot of espresso, take delight in knowing that one of the suppliers of this dark roast, the Gayo Organic Farmers Association, has started a project to bring safe drinking water to more than 1,500 people. The cooperative has also saved funds to help farmers with the reconstruction of their homes, many of which were destroyed in recent fighting, and to aid in the construction of two new schools.

2)      Steam milk sold by dairy farmers in El Salvador’s Northern Zone. As the steam rises, take a moment to read how many dairy farmers are now enjoying a higher income because MCC helped about 17,500 people by providing training, seeds, equipment, and technical assistance. The agency also built or rehabilitated more than 220 kilometers of road and 23 bridges as part of a five-year, $461 million compact.

3)      Pour the milk into the espresso and top with foam.

4)      Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon from the legendary spice island of Zanzibar on top to give it a pleasing kick. As you enjoy that first sip, read a bit about how MCC is strengthening the island’s electrical grid with the aim of increasing investment and reducing poverty.  Or if you have a sweet tooth, add a bit of cocoa from Ghanaian farmers who are more effectively receiving payment on their harvest, thanks to the computerization of rural banks as part of MCC’s five-year, $547 million compact."

Jonathan Bloom is the acting vice president for compact operations at the Millennium Challenge Corporation. On April 29, GMCR CEO Brian Kelley accepted the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Corporate Award—recognition for the work that GMCR does to create a sustainable future for its farmer partners.

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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.  

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20,000 Coffee Farming Families Receive Food Security Support

 

Coffee Farming Family

We often talk about our financial support of projects within our coffee growing communities. Those communities are just one of the communities throughout our supply chain. Our other supply chains include apple growing communities and manufacturing communities to name just a few. We are working to build a Resilient Supply Chain - helping the producers and manufacturers in our supply chain, as well as their employees and wider communities, to adapt to the many challenges they face and to prosper over the short term and the long term.

Resilence, at its most basic level, refers to an ability to adapt quickly to, or recover from, changes. We also strive to address more complex social and environmental challenges. We commit to long-term relationships that sustain healthier communities and create the highest-quality products — whether we are helping our suppliers keep pace with our Company’s continued growth or financially assisting partner organizations to develop new programs for coffee farmers to better support their families.

Focus Areas for Supply Chain Projects

Highlights from our Fiscal 2012 Report include:

-Over $10 million in funding to projects in over 12 countries within our Supply Chain Communities.

-An estimated 20,000 families have received food security support from GMCR-funded programs

-Funding of our first U.S.-based non-coffee supply chain project in apple-growing communities in Yakima, Wash.

To explore the full Fiscal 2012 Sustainability Report, visit www.gmcr.com/sustainability

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8th Annual Sustainability Report Now Live!

We are excited to announce the release if our eighth annual sustainability report, outlining our environmental and social performance for fiscal 2012. The report details the our long-standing commitment to sustainability and unveils a new focus on three specific practice areas: Resilient Supply Chain, Sustainable Products, and Thriving People and Communities.

In the report, we announce that purchases of Fair Trade Certified™ coffees represented over 50 million pounds, or five million more pounds than fiscal 2011. In 2011, Fair Trade USA ranked GMCR the largest purchaser of Fair Trade CertifiedTM coffee in the world for the second year running.

We delivered a 46% increase in net sales in 2012 while also improving energy efficiency, recycling more waste, and reducing the proportion of waste sent to the landfill. Highlights of the fiscal 2012 report include:

  • - We more than tripled the amount of waste chaff, burlap, coffee, powder, and tea that it composted, and increased recycling of corrugated boxes, boxboard, paper, and plastics by 50% in its facilities, compared to the previous year.
  • - Over $10 million in grant money was allocated to supply-chain communities, including food security projects for over 20,000 coffee-farming families around the world.
  • - The Company maintained an employee retention rate of approximately 90%.
  • - Sixty-five percent of full-time employees volunteered through a company-sponsored program called Café Time, which allows employees up to 52 paid hours per year to volunteer.

 

The report also highlights our goals for fiscal 2013, which include continuing financial support for projects addressing food security in coffee-growing communities, increasing the sourcing of sustainable coffees, and further reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills.

 

Read the full Sustainability report our website at www.gmcr.com/sustainability.

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Community Garden Provides Nutritional Education


GMCR Knoxville TN Employee Community Grants

As February ends and March begins, I start dreaming of tulips and a freshly planted garden. Unfortunately, Vermont still has six weeks left of winter, but our Knoxville, Tennessee facility will be thawing out much sooner. During our fiscal 2012 grantmaking, we provided financial support to The New Harvest Park Community Garden in Knoxville. The Garden is a partnership of the Knoxville Area Coalition on Childhood Obesity, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and Knox County Parks and Recreation. The Community Garden promotes a healthy lifestyle through education about real food – where it comes from, how it grows, the nutritional benefits, the many unique flavors – while providing physical activity in the garden. Groups of children attend a ten week program, Junior Master Gardener, which offers horticulture and environmental science education through fun and creative activities. GMCR’s funding provided the equipment, supplies, and an instructor for the program.

The first graduates of the Junior Master Gardener program received their completion certificates at the garden dedication ceremony which was featured on the local news and on Knox County’s website. Members of the Knoxville Grantmaking Team attended the dedication ceremony and spoke to some of the Junior Master Gardeners.  They spoke highly of the program and were proud to share their favorite experiences in the program which included weeding, manually tilling the ground, picking the harvest that they worked hard to grow, and eating the yummy vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and herbs. More information and pictures from the Community Garden can be viewed on their Facebook page.

Through Employee Community Grant Programs at each of our employee sites in the United States and Canada, we provide grants to organizations and projects that address specific issues aligned with environmental stewardshipstrong local systems, and economic prosperity. Each employee site has its own grant program and review team, and each directs their philanthropic efforts and resources to a set of specific focus areas that are meaningful for their employees and relevant to their unique community. 

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