Shade Grown Fair Trade Coffee

The Shade Grown label on our Thanksgiving brand coffee means it was grown on a plantation that is also a forest home for migratory birds. Of the true rainforest that remains in Mexico and Central America, most is located in or near coffee plantations. The coffee plant, a shade-loving shrub, thrives under a canopy of diverse tree species, as the rainforest provides a natural mulch for coffee plants and prevents soil erosion.

Because nearly two thirds of Latin America's original forests have been destroyed, these coffee plantation forests are critical for the survival of migratory birds that breed in North America and winter in the tropics. In addition to providing a healthy habitat for winged species, these intact rainforests can also provide coffee farmers with additional income from secondary crops such as bananas. While coffee grown in full sun exposure initially yields more beans, sun-grown coffee requires the use of many pesticides and leads to soil degradation and ecosystem destruction. Thus, choosing shade grown coffee represents a better future for birds, farmers, and the environment.

The Oakland Zoo supports the Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International (FLO) and sustainable farming by serving only shade grown fair trade organic Thanksgiving Coffee at the zoo cafe and all special events.

Products like coffee, tea, and chocolate are produced in the warmer climates of the south. Prices paid by consumers do not reflect the costs of the farmer. Farmers often have to work longer and harder even when there are no apparent changes in consumer prices. Alternative Trading Organizations (ATO) were set up in recognition of the important role that consumers could play in improving situations for the producers.

ATOs follow the FLO criteria, which are researched for individual producers. The label guarantees a price that covers the cost of production, partial advance payments to avoid heavy debts, long term trade relations that allow proper planning and sustainable production practices. By supporting this program, we ensure all producers that we're taking responsibility for the role we play when we buy products from the third world.

To learn more, visit: http://www.thanksgivingcoffee.com/ .

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