The long dark drizzly days of winter are now behind us and spring is here. For me, that means back out into the yard to continue the seemingly never-ending list of things to do – weeding, planting and pruning. This year my big project is building two new vegetable garden boxes.
In my free time I may be an aspiring gardener but during the week, I am an ethical sourcing manager for Starbucks. Just like gardening in Seattle, coffee farming requires great care and planning – but it’s on a much larger scale and serves as a source of income for millions of families.
Starbucks encourages coffee farmers to use responsible farming methods through a program called C.A.F.E. Practices. The “C.A.F.E.” stands for Coffee and Farmer Equity.
C.A.F.E. Practices was designed to help ensure that the high-quality coffee we buy is grown and processed in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. It’s a set of more than 200 practices that are focused on worker welfare and the environmental and economic impacts of coffee growing and processing.
The practices include things like controlling erosion (super important since coffee is most often grown on steep hillsides), reducing pesticide use and making compost from coffee processing bi-products. You should see some of the worm bins busy making compost out of the coffee pulp!
Having seen C.A.F.E. Practices in action, I know that great care has been taken to grow the coffee in your cup each morning – care for the coffee tree it came from, the people who picked it, as well as the surrounding community and environment.