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All coffee is grown in the rich, equatorial rainforest belt that circles the world. Growing coffee in the shade of rainforest trees is the natural way to raise this crop. It's also the best way to protect coffee's natural environment. Shade-grown coffee requires fewer pesticides and less fertilizer than coffee grown in the sun. Growing coffee in its natural environment also provides habitat for the birds and insects that devour the pests that prey on coffee plants. According to the Worldwatch Institute, plantations that grow “sun” coffee destroy rainforests to clear land for their crop. As a result, half as many bird species, and only one-third as many individual birds live on plantations that grow coffee in full sun. Diversity of insects, plants, and other wild creatures is lower on “sun” coffee plantations, as well.

In addition to growing their coffee in the shade, farmers can grow it organically, which helps keep groundwater safe. And growing coffee using “fair trade” principles ensures that farmers are paid a living wage for their crop.

You can buy coffee that is “triple certified” to be organic, fair trade, and shade-grown from companies like Thanksgiving Coffee Company, Equal Exchange, and Grounds for Change . Ask your grocery store to carry coffee from any of these companies. Request it at coffee shops, restaurants, donut shops, and cafes, too.


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Use Your Purse: Archive

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