What does organic coffee really mean?
When you serve organic coffee, you offer a safer and healthier choice to your customers, while also contributing to the wellbeing of the planet. Each cup counts.
The word ‘organic’ can bring many pictures to mind. It has been used and abused by marketers to the point where it has begun to lose its impact. But in fact, it really shouldn’t. Contrary to what most people think, organic coffee is not just chemical free. It is coffee grown and handled in a way that takes into consideration the whole ecosystem – soil, plants, animals, people, and the environment.
Organic agriculture provides nutrient-rich soils, from which healthy crops can be grown. This means that farmers are not only growing healthy coffee plants, but also putting vital nutrients back into the soil to help the next crop. It’s all about feeding the soil biology, rather than feeding the plants directly with selected chemicals.
Organic farming also increases biodiversity at every level of the food chain, all the way from lowly bacteria to mammals. As the soil becomes nutritious, a wider variety of flowers and grasses will grow, thereby attracting different insects. Bird populations develop mutually beneficial relationships with coffee fields, enjoying the habitat while keeping insect populations under control and naturally fertilising the soil. As the crops don’t get sprayed with nasty chemicals, predators move in to feed on them – and this reverberates right up the food chain.
Now let’s think on a larger scale: soil degradation is one of the biggest factors leading to global warming. Organic practices can reduce greenhouse gas emissions due to the elimination of fossil fuel-based synthetic pesticides and fertilisers. Carbon sequestration, lower-input of non-renewable resources, and use of renewable energy all present opportunities for organic agriculture to lead the way in reducing energy consumption and mitigating the negative affects of energy emissions. In organic farms, chemicals are not leached into nearby soils or drinking water, nor are they carried in the air to surrounding farms.
The long-term effect of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides on human health is not entirely understood. However, there are several health concerns related to chemical residues entering the food supply. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 30% of insecticides, 60% of herbicides and 90% of fungicides are carcinogenic. They can cause damage to the nervous and reproductive systems, hormone imbalance and other harmful health side effects.
Organic and Fairtrade organic certifications are complementary and both show a joint commitment by farmers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers to social and environmental responsibility.
Read more about fair trade coffee.Back to Top