Five years into the Syrian conflict, there are over 4 million refugees– an estimated 2.5 million of which are children. Many of these children have been forced to flee their home countries, leaving behind family, friends, belongings, and a place to sleep.

 

So when our partners at the American Swedish Institute came to us with a proposal to join their campaign for refugee relief, we immediately said “Count us in.”

 

This year, ASI is focusing on a theme of Migration, Identity and Belonging. One of the first installments is the exhibition “Where the Children Sleep,” a series of photographs by Swedish photojournalist Magnus Wennman.

 

Throughout the scheduled exhibitions, ASI will partner with various organizations to raise awareness and make donations. That’s where Tiny comes in— we source and roast the coffee in their FIKA Blend, served at FIKA (ASI’s award wining restaurant and Swedish for coffee brake, traditionally with a pastry and conversation), and sold in retail bags in their museum store. During the exhibition’s run, we’ll join FIKA and the museum store to support these relief efforts by donating a portion of all coffee sales to USA for UNHCR. 50 cents of each cup sold, along with 20 percent of all retail bag sales will go to relief efforts. This way, the exhibition goes beyond awareness, and visitors can begin to contribute directly.

 

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Photograph by Magnus Wennman

 

Wennman, who is a two time World Press Photo Award winner and was named Swedish photographer of the year 4 times, photographed refugee children across Europe, gaining an understanding of the hardship these families face when forced to flee.

 

According to an article posted on the UNHCR website, Wennman had been in Beirut for just a short while when he met a refugee family, a father and his two daughters, who were living on the side of the road. In these moments, he was inspired to share their stories.

 

“I came up with this idea that I wanted to document where the refugee children sleep,” the article quoted Wennman saying. “No matter how hard this conflict may be to understand, it’s not hard to understand that children need a safe place to sleep.”

 

As Wennman’s introduction to the conflict seemed to be happenstance, ASI’s introduction to his work was similarly fated.

 

“Quite literally, we walked through the galleries at Fotografiska (Stockholm, Sweden), serendipitously encountered this exhibition, and wept,” said Scott Pollock, Director of Exhibitions at ASI. “The project offered so much emotional engagement, featured one of Sweden’s most brilliant artists, and tackled a subject we were ruminating on. We knew we had to share this experience with our audiences in Minneapolis.”

 

Pollock said the topic of migration had been on ASI’s list since 2015, as they knew it was important to explore immigration in a safe, open and inclusive way.

 

“ASI has been and continues to be an organization that invites all people to gather to connect their pasts to their shared futures,” Pollock said. “But our main goal is to get all these people in the room to better understand what is similar, and what is different, and create empathy and understanding.”

 

In the world of coffee, we also want to create a shared experience; whether that means making cross-continental connections between coffee farmers and coffee drinkers, or if it means taking the time out of your day for a “fika” coffee hour to reflect and converse.

 

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Photograph by Magnus Wennman

 

Other “Migration, Identity and Belonging” exhibits include: Green Card Voices: Nordic Voices, a documentary look at local immigrants; The Stories They Told  a series of folk art carvings first popularized in the Nordic regions and then spread internationally; finally, Swede Hollow explores the fictitious characters and historical research referenced in the novel Swede Hollow by Ola Larsmo.

 

The FIKA Footprints campaign and the exhibit, Where The Children Sleep, will run January 21 through March 5.

 

BROOKLYN CENTER, MN —

 

Tiny Footprint Coffee, the world’s first carbon-negative coffee, has crossed the $100,000 threshold in its funding toward the reforestation of the Mindo Cloudforest in Ecuador.

 

In partnership with the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation, Tiny Footprint has donated a portion of its coffee sales to the foundation’s reforestation projects, resulting in the planting of more than 74,000 trees in the Cloudforest since 2010, when the coffee was launched.

 

tree planting

 

 

 

In funding the reforestation of the Mindo Cloudforest, Tiny Footprint Coffee is able to credibly offset the carbon footprint in creates in the production and distribution of its coffee. With each pound of coffee sold, Tiny Footprint donates a portion toward the planting of trees, which, throughout their lifetime, will take out 54 pounds of carbon emissions from the atmosphere.

 

“It makes me smile thinking about how something that was just an idea in 2009 is now Tiny Footprint Coffee,” said Alan Krohnke, co-founder and co-owner of Tiny Footprint Coffee. “We’re making a difference in people’s lives, enhancing bio-diversity and fighting climate change all by having fun producing delicious, sustainable coffee. We could not have done it without a whole lot of people: the farmers and coffee pros in source countries; our talented team members; our incredible wholesale customers; and most importantly their customers — the people who drink our coffee day in and day out.”

 

In Ecuador, the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation has been able to contribute to the local economy through job creation and nursery sales beyond the project itself. The reforestation and preservation also contributes to habitat creation in one of the wettest and most bio-diverse places on the planet, an area that includes five BirdLife International Important Bird Areas (IBA).

mapmcf_reserves

 

As Tiny Footprint continues to donate, the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation plans to maintain its educational programs for researchers and students across the globe, in addition to continuing reforestation efforts in the Valley of Mindo and in Milpe.

 

Tiny Footprint’s environmental impact goes beyond the partnership with Mindo. By selling coffee to a growing community of sustainability-minded coffee retailers and coffee drinkers, Tiny Footprint is able to help bring an impact closer to individuals.

 

“Looking forward, I’m humbled by the task of making Tiny less “tiny” and more impactful for all of our partners and fans.” Krohnke added.

 

To learn more about Tiny Footprint Coffee, visit www.tinyfootprintcoffee.com.

 



With a portion of our proceeds funding reforestation it’s usually Tiny Footprint heading to Ecuador. But early this fall, the Mindo Cloudforest came to us. Brian Krohnke, one of the founders of the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation, stopped by Minnesota to visit his brother Alan—one of the founders of Tiny Footprint Coffee. We had the chance to learn a little bit more about the foundation and its beginnings in our conversation with Brian. Here’s a glimpse of what we talked about.

 

TINY: So going back to the beginning…tell us about the first time you were in Ecuador. Is it a clear moment in your mind?


BRIAN: Of course. It’s funny because it was in September, and I [recently] found my old passport from when I came to Ecuador. September 20th was the first stamp on my going to Ecuador. It’ll be 21 years ago. I went with the idea to study Spanish. I went to Evergreen State College, [here in the US], an alternative, progressive school and when I went, there were no grades, no majors. Basically you made your own way and took what you wanted to take. And I studied American Literature and then political philosophy. With the Spanish language, I thought I’d have a better chance of finding a job. But I didn’t want to find a job right then and there.

Brian, left. Alan, right.

So I worked as an intern at a small magazine for a year… and later, I followed a girl out to Chapel Hill in North Carolina and lived there for more than a year. When it didn’t work out, I moved back to Seattle, and I was a bike messenger for a year. And then I thought I’ve got to get out of here. So I sold my car, and I sold everything and I went to Ecuador. I was supposed to stay there for a year, and as it got close to that last final day to fly back, then nope. I stayed. The first time I came back to the states, it was two and a half years after I left.

 

TINY: Going from learning Spanish to nature conservation…how did the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation come to be?

 

BRIAN: I got involved with this group. I had about $5,000 and I invested it in this group. We all invested 5,000 bucks and we bought a piece of forest, near Mindo, near where we still work. We were going to start a little eco tourism project– this was in late ‘96 when we started that. Then there was a big economic crisis in Ecuador– almost hyper inflation. So I had this cloud forest, but no more money to invest, and there were no loans. So I started guiding tourism, I had a little Jeep I’d drive people around in, to make ends meet. Then they started to build a heavy crude pipeline that ran right through the back corner of this property we had– they didn’t advise landowners, they just did it– over the top of the Mindo watershed and with a lot of sensitive areas, it was a really bad place to build a pipeline. We gave them information about how many birds and how much biodiversity, and why they shouldn’t build it. Of course, we lost. They built the thing wherever they wanted to. But out of that, this group, we decided to create a conservation foundation, so if we were organized in the future when something else like that happened, we would be more in a position to stop it. By December 2001, the foundation had legal standing and we’ve been working ever since.

White-necked Jacobin (Florisuga mellivora) feeding at a flower while flying at Bueneventura Lodge in southwest Ecuador.

TINY: Who makes up the foundation?

 

BRIAN: We were six at the beginning, then we were down to five. But more people have joined, there’s 13 of us now. People from the US like me, from Ecuador, from Germany, someone from Australia, someone from Ireland who now lives in Northern Colombia. It’s an interesting group. All birders, all conservationists.

Ecuador is a small country, it’s about the size of Colorado, or the U.K., but it has more than 1600 bird species. In the whole North America, there’s about 700. The only countries that have more bird species than Ecuador are Colombia, Brazil, and Peru– in that order– and those three surround Ecuador. In a sense, it’s the densest place for bird species.

So everyone in the group is– we have two PhD Ornithologists– and the author of the book Birds of Ecuador, we have a guy who studied tourism, another guy who is a businessman. He was one of the first guys in Ecuador to take birders out. Now there’s someone who is more of a forestry specialist, too.

 

TINY: What has the evolution of the foundation been like?

 

BRIAN: The first two years we didn’t do anything– we found our first money to build the first reserve– Milpe– and right at that point, they made me president. And I was president for 8 years, and then another guy, and every two years we change roles. Of the founders, I’m the only one who has really had this as my job.

 

TINY: Tell us about the area that you’re working in now, about these reserves.

 

BRIAN: Well, in a temperate forest there are many individual trees of just a few species. You go here [in Minnesota], you’ll find a hundred in an acre—a hundred of the same pine tree, and hundred of another pine tree. There are probably five species in an acre in a natural forest. Where we are, you can probably find five hundred species of trees in an acre, and you might only find one of each individual.

tandayapa_view-570x300

TINY: To wrap up, can you tell us a little more about a specific project the foundation has worked on?

 

BRIAN: The big reforestation project we did with the funding from telenet and Tiny Footprint has been validated to two standards. One is the verified carbon standard (VCS), and the climate community biodiversity alliance standard (CCBA). The verified carbon standard is rigorous, it’s important. It shows we’ve designed the project well so our carbon estimates should be reasonably conservative and well done. The CCBA shows we’ve done our research and planted native species in ways that aren’t harmful to the environment or harmful to the community interests and in ways where we protect species of particular conservation importance. So we’ve demonstrated all of that and it’s being monitored. They’re monitoring right now— by going to the areas and measuring the trees.

 

To learn more about the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation, take a trip to their website and see for yourself.