Coffee is a plant that has transformed the world.
Coffee farming has cleared vast tracts of forests and pumped chemicals into soil and water. Trade has exploited workers along the value chain. While global coffee companies have flourished, producers have often been further impoverished. But coffee is far from gloom and doom.
In India especially, we still have the chance to influence its trajectory and foster a coffee growing and drinking culture that is accountable to all stakeholders, including producers as well as the ecosystem.
Our intent is to enable coffee producers to protect biodiversity on their coffee farms.
We feel it will take us time to restore forests and enable producers to feel fully empowered to make good ecological choices. More so, we want whatever positive changes that occur to stick around long after we are gone.
We call this long-term effort the 1000 year brew.
We work to resolve three questions:
Why should small growers be denied access to fair and transparent markets?
Why should small growers be denied capacity, training and means to grow specialty coffee?
Why should you, the coffee drinker consume a coffee that destroys rather than protects forests?
Our grassroots community involvement is currently in BR Hills, Karnataka, India.
Our hope is to build a set of incentives, quality improvement, financial and farm management programmes that strengthen capacities of coffee producers to be resilient to changes and empowered to act in global markets.
Some of the world’s best coffee regions overlap almost identically with the richest forests and wildlife areas. In India, the Lion-Tailed Macaque and Indian Moon Moth amble through forest fragments in the Western Ghats. Fragments that are often shaped by crisscrossing coffee farms. The presence of wild species (plants and animals) is then influenced by the the boundaries and activities on farms. Our conservation goal is to keep a shifting balance between place, ecology and coffee markets.