All Grounds for Change coffee is Certified Organic by the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
Certified organic coffee is grown by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality. Grounds for Change certified organic coffee is grown without the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, thereby assuring the health of the soil, the forest and the farmers.
Most experts agree that the chemicals used in non-organic coffee growing burn off during the roasting process and that few traces of these chemicals - if any - are left behind. If that is the case, then what does buying organic coffee mean to the consumer? At Grounds for Change, we believe that supporting organic coffee farming on a global level goes hand-in-hand with our mission to provide you with the highest quality coffee possible.
Organic coffee seedlings ready for planting in Guatemala
The same chemicals (DDT for example) that have "killed" lakes and streams in coffee producing areas of Latin America and elsewhere, are still used by workers today, frequently without a basic understanding of the harm that they are doing to the environment, to themselves and to their families. The misuse of pesticides typically stems from the workers' inability to interpret directions and warnings relating to these harmful chemicals. Insufficient access to education has left them illiterate and at the mercy of compounds that cause respiratory arrest, cancer, birth defects and many other disabling and life threatening illnesses. In addition, workers are rarely outfitted with protective gear that might provide them with even a small measure of protection against these pollutants.
The use of toxic chemicals is not only hazardous to the workers and their families, but also to the environment that they rely on to sustain themselves. The use of harmful chemicals on locally-grown crops has a direct impact on their quality of life. Their land should provide them with food for their families, water for drinking and a playground for their children. Deforestation, soil erosion and habitat loss combined with agricultural chemical pollution leave behind an environment that is lifeless, polluted and barren.
Harvesting organic coffee in Northern Peru
In contrast, organic coffee farming encourages sustainability, multilayered crop production and a rich array of wildlife. Farmers who practice organic coffee farming methods depend on organic matter to fertilize plants and by using these materials, mimic the natural processes of growth and decay. Organic coffee farming encourages beneficial insects and a healthier, more resistant crop. Mulching with organic materials and growing coffee under a canopy of trees decreases the need for irrigation and conserves water. By growing citrus and fruit-bearing trees in the upper story (a process known as diversification), the canopy serves the dual purpose of providing organic mulch for the understory and food for the community.
We all have the ability to make change through our spending habits and supporting organically grown coffee is one way to promote social justice and a healthy global environment. By choosing organic coffee, you support change that starts at the level of the coffee growing communities and that will benefit people and the planet for generations to come.