I love a good cup of coffee. I can’t tell you which countries have which flavors, but I certainly would love to.
I’m going to be exploring some different beans and other coffee, for lack of a better word, stuff and I hope others will share their experiences with me, too.
I just finished a 16 oz. bag of Fara Coffee, signature roast. Made in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, and roasted in Austin, this bag is Rainforest Alliance Certified. Like many people, I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant (although it sounded good), so I looked it up.
The Rainforest Alliance certifies businesses that meet its standards, allowing the business to use its stamp of approval on its products—in this case, a coffee bag—but there are more than 100 crops that can be designated as Rainforest Alliance certified.
Part of the standards means being environmentally and socially friendly.
While the Rainforest Alliance is concerned with sustainability, it’s not the same thing as being organic. Though farms could be both, the Rainforest Alliance allows some forms of agrochemicals.
The complete set of standards, developed by the Sustainable Agriculture Network, can be downloaded here or I’ve summarized its main points below.
Part 1 ensures the farm and its workers are behind the goals of sustainability and are organized about carrying its goals out.
Part 2 ensures the farms are working with its current ecosystem, so that it is not destroyed in the farms processes.
Part 3 ensures wildlife protection of the animals that may live on the farm or nearby and allow for them to roam free.
Part 4 lays out water conservation measures.
Part 5 ensures fair treatment and good working conditions for workers, including equal hiring opportunity, safe and clean housing for those who house farmers and a variety of other working and living conditions that must be met.
Part 6 continues the treat ment of workers and includes an occupational health and safety program and training.
Part 7 tells a farm how it should cooperate with the community it resides, including protecting and conserving natural resources and prioritizing hiring from the local community.
Part 8 specifies the types of pesticides a farm may use and how much to ensure harm isn’t done to the workers or wildlife.
Part 9 ensures forests are not cut down for growing crops.
Part 10 ensures the farm is clean and that waste is disposed of properly.
If you care about preserving rainforests, how workers are treated and other social and ecological matters, look for the stamp of approval next time you’re at the store.
Definition via Sustainable Agriculture Network
Agrochemical: A chemical substance used in agricultural production systems to maintain soil fertility (compost or fertilizer), control weeds (herbicide), combat pests (insecticides, fungicides, nematicides, rodenticides, etc.) or stimulate growth.