A Brief Description of an Influential Seed
How much do you know about coffee? Sure, you pour yourself a cup every morning, maybe you can pull a decent shot of espresso. But what about the growth of coffee, before the roasting, before it makes it into your coffee cup there are hours of labor and and dollars dedicated to the production of coffee. Coffee beans are the seeds from coffee cherries, a small tart and sweet fruit. Harvesting coffee cherries at peak ripeness is a job that can only be done by hand. The sweet red and yellow cherries ripen at different times, depending on altitude, temperature, soil acidity, sun exposure, and other factors. Even on a single tree, the cherries don’t even ripen all at once, which means that farm workers will pick any given tree five or more times in a single harvest.
Coffee cherries are volatile little fruits, and even the mildest change in environment can throw off their flavor and potentially ruin an entire harvest. Considering its delicacy, coffee has an astonishingly powerful effect on the cultures and infrastructures of the countries where it’s grown. The coffee trade creates an economy almost unparalleled in agriculture; in fact, coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world. But coffee is threatened; with every pound of carbon released into the atmosphere, the delicate environment that coffee thrives in is left vulnerable.
Here at Tiny Footprint Coffee we work our hardest to stabilize coffee’s environment by removing carbon from the atmosphere with every pound of coffee we sell. Luckily there are others who think like we do. One example I’d like to introduce to you is Cloud Forest Coffee Farms.
The Mission Behind Cloud Forest Coffee Farms
Cloud Forest Coffee Farms (CFCF) is an association of coffee and cacao farmers in northern Ecuador. Tucked high up in the cloud forest, a high altitude rainforest, they have a focused mission of implementing reforestation through agriculture, hand in hand with education. You may remember Tambo Quinde, an organic coffee farm and educational trail whose Indiegogo campaign we supported this past winter. Tambo Quinde is one of the original farms in the association and an ideal ecotourism destination. Recently CFCF began working with Mashpi, an artisan and organic, cacao farm. These relationships and collaborations create a template for other farmers to follow. By creating precedents for sustainable farming and environmental restoration, CFCF opens the door for other farmers who may have been hesitant about taking the first step towards sustainable farming.
As we always say: this is a place you can visit, just ask. Ecotourism promotes education and cultural exchange, as well as, creating jobs in the local economy that are in harmony with the forest. The beauty and diversity of Ecuador makes Cloud Forest Coffee Farms the perfect destination and interaction with the visitors allows the CFCF team to educate and spread the word about the origins of your morning cup and the environmental challenges facing coffee farmers.
Cloud Forest Coffee Farms is pushing boundaries with its high altitude sustainable farms. The team is experimenting with different aspects of reforestation in worn-out cattle pastures adjacent to beautiful nature preserves. The organization is hopeful that over the long term, their efforts will result in a complete restoration of the damaged ecosystem in which they are working. The team began planting hardy nitrogen-fixing species of trees to begin reconstructing the cloud forest canopy and regenerating the soil. As the forest begins to heal, more hardwood varieties will be strategically planted for optimal coffee conditions.
A Brotherly Collaboration
Did you know that Tiny Footprint Coffee and Cloud Forest Coffee Farms are related? Tiny Footprint Coffee was founded in 2010 by Alan Krohnke and his partners. At the same time, Alan’s brother, Brian Krohnke, was working on a reforestation project in the Mindo Cloud Forest in Northwest Ecuador. A little brainstorming and calculation led to the creation of Tiny Footprint Coffee with the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation as the enabler of its carbon-negative business plan. For every pound of Tiny Footprint Coffee bought since then, the Mindo Cloud Forest Foundation receives a portion of the profit to purchase and plant carbon-removing trees and restore damaged areas of the cloud forest.
Since Brian expanded his sustainability horizons with Cloud Forest Coffee Farms, Tiny Footprint Coffee is proud to support this beacon of sustainability. We’d like to invite you to get involved too!
Although, Cloud Forest Coffee Farms is a relatively new initiative, it is fueled with passion for the environment (and quality coffee and cocoa) and a drive lead the way in creating a sustainable, restorative agro-forestry economy in the Andes. One of its coffee farms delivered their first commercial crop this past spring. Currently they are in the middle of their second harvest and, by the looks of it, we have a lot to look forward to.
Keep updated on Cloud Forest Coffee Farms by liking them on Facebook or Twitter, and signing up for their email list.