Tag Archives: activism

Growing More Than Coffee

Written by Lori Thiessen

The coffee bean we value so highly and pay so much for generally comes from some of the most economically depressed and sometimes politically unstable regions of the world.

Now that consumer compassion is a considerable force in the marketplace, most of the major coffee companies are building in not only environmental sustainability projects into their bottom line but community development projects in these poverty stricken countries, too.

Look at what three of these major coffee companies are doing to support positive, local social change.

Tim Hortons takes a keen interest in their coffee suppliers with a view to improving the coffee farmers and their families lives. By teaching and nurturing the small coffee growers to become better business people, it strengthens the local community and also creates a better product.  Tim Hortons now has improvement projects established in Guatemala, Brazil and Colombia.

Seattle’s Best Coffee also supports Fair Trade certified coffee and claims to invest in social and education projects that help to nurture the communities from which they buy their coffee.

By 2015, Starbucks has declared on its website that 100% of its coffee will be “responsibly grown and ethically traded”.  Through its Shared Planet Program, Starbucks invests in improving the health of coffee growing communities where it buys coffee. Starbucks also participates in foundations that loan money to local farmers at a better rate than they would normally get. These loans help farmers to weather the bad times and make their start-up experience easier and more profitable.

Coffee growing and buying is far more than just the land it grows on.  Without the small scale coffee farmer and his community, we coffee consumers wouldn’t have as much of that black gold to sip.

Q: Do you buy your coffee based on the company’s involvement in ethical sourcing?

Until Next Time,

May your coffee always be freshly brewed!




Your Local Coffeehouse, Your Local Command Post

Written by Lori Thiessen

The coffeehouse has served many purposes over its history. It’s been a place to socialize, a place to glean information, to see art, buy books and listen to artists.

But did you ever think of your local coffee shop as your local command post? Well, a group of anti-war soldiers have done just that. Iraq Veterans against the War (IVAW) have established a coffeehouse called The Different Drummer just outside of Fort Drum, NY. They campaign for soldiers’ rights and specifically for the withdrawal of all US military presence from Iraq.

I read about a coffee shop, I think it was a Starbucks, in South America, that has become the safe haven for the super rich against those who would kidnap them or kill them. This coffee shop has a metal detector at the front door and an armed security guard to protect these coffee drinkers from any criminal capers.

The cultural revolutions and political protests of the 1960’s and 1970’s found “command” centres in their local coffeehouses. In fact, the coffee house has been suspected of being a place of political plotting ever since the early 17th century when King Charles II tried to have coffeehouses shut down on charges of sedition.

A mercurial social venue, the coffeehouse lends itself quite easily to the needs of its patrons perhaps more easily than any other kind of place.

Until next time,

May your coffee always be freshly brewed!