The gang was all there!! Boulder Colorado, home of our hosts Mark and Mel of Conscious Coffees and site of Cooperative Coffees 2016 AGM. Three days of intense discussion, healthy debate, way too much great coffee, learning, listening, laughing. Hard to believe we are in our 16th year as a Coop! I am grateful for the friendships made, for always learning from people who share their gifts without pause and the constant inspiration that this diverse group of people and their business's bring into my life and our business. I am very excited to be a part of Cooperative Coffees Impact Committee, expanding the work that the Roya Fund began - more on this to come. Kevin will continue his work on the finance committee and also joins the Coop board as it works its way through the EOS process. (Entreprenurial Operating System) To top it all, looks like we here in Toronto are set to host next years AGM!! Holy Smokes!!!
LIKE WALDO, THE AG BEANS ARE EVERYWHERE!
- The JUNCTION FROMAGERIE, 3042 Dundas West, junctionfromagerie.com. Reload on fresh locally roasted fairtrade coffee beans while shopping for artisanal cheese, preserves, bread and other goodies!
- Right on Roncie! At MABEL's, 323 Roncesvalles Ave. (and 1156 Queen St. West), Hours: 7:30-7:30 weekdays and 9-6pm on weekends. Also, at EVERGREEN NATURAL FOODS, 161 Roncesvalles Ave. And last and not on the strip but nearby, at SUNNY JOE's (250 Sorauren Ave., across from the park), open 7:30 to 5:30 Monday to Friday, Saturday and Sunday 8:30 - 5:30.
- In Parkdale, at the WEST END FOOD COOP (1229 Queen W. at Dufferin).
- On Bloor West at the NUTHOUSE (1256A Bloor St. West), and Coffee Guitar-land at 1280 Bloor St. W. (E of Lansdowne on the north side)
- Further afield? Now you can find our coffee at ABOKICHI! 258 Dupont St. You can purchase beans or grab a cup when you are getting your onigiri!!
- Midwest dwellers south of Bloor, East of Lansdowne: Head over to McCormick Park Cafe and Market brought to you by the Aangen Community Centre, located at 66 Sheridan Avenue (by the Children's playground, nearest intersection: Dundas West and Dufferin), For hours and updates visit: http://www.aangen.com/shop.asp
Your Nickel's Worth!!! The Roya Fund education collaboration in action!!
Our Coop was able to facilitate an intensive training workshop addressing Roya in Colombia at Fondo Paez Coop. The talks were led by Victor Contreras - one of the star-organic promoters from COMSA in Honduras. The information shared was generated by work done in the fields by truly visionary farmers at COMSA who have developed natural methods and techniques to fight off the dreaded leaf rust. For more information visit Monika's blog: http://coopcoffees.coop/this-guy-has-rocked-my-world/
"My farm was beautiful; it was big.. Coffee rust appeared and wiped out everything," Edwin Diaz (Guatemalan coffee farmer). Cooperative Coffee's Roya Fund, which we started last year, continues to support our partners! As the article featured in NPR's the Salt indicates, we can not underestimate the devastating effects this fungus is having on communities across Central and into South America. Kudos go out to all the organic innovation intiated at the farm level by so many of our partners, including those at COMSA who have been leaders in teaching other farmers best practices. Read the full article here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/07/28/335293974/rust-devastates-guatemalas-prime-coffee-crop-and-its-farmers
“For coffee farmers who are dealing with this rust crisis ... if they don’t have coffee to sell, they don’t eat,” - Charlie Fishbein ( The Coffee Exchange) speaks about the Roya Crisis. Read a great piece written by one of our own Coop Coffees Monika by clicking on this link! This article recently published Canada's Media Co-op, an online magazine that covers "news from the grassroots", addresses the crisis impact on farmers. We are happy to report that through our Roya premium fund and with the help of Root Capital, we at Coop Coffees have delivered around $300,000 to our Latin American partners working to renovate and/or resist the effect of roya.
A reminder that we have a copy of "Connected by Coffee" available for loan. This doc features a number of our producer partners and 2 Coop Coffee members on a tour of Central America looking at coffee as a means of empowerment - where we are and the distance still to cover. Thought provoking
OTHER GOOD STUFF!
Wondering about what has been happening with Grow Ahead? Despite our best intentions, it appears the crowd-lending site to pre-finance coffee shipments with small growers, did not have as broad appeal as we would have liked. Partly a lack of funded infrastructure, as well as changes in the coffee market and availability of reasonable loans for small farmers, it seems to have outlived its raison d'etre. However, we are excited by talks that are underway for the site to be re-launched as a site for small farmers to access loans to help mitigate climate change. Small farmers do indeed, cool the planet! Stay tuned for updates. Please be assured that your loan can be retreived at any time. Thank you for supporting small farmers.
Alison, the Coffee Comandante at Japanese Paper Place shares a coffee tip to ensure coffee chaos/ crisis does not occur in your household or business : " I always label the last bag "last bag" ... once the "last bag is chosen, (they) bring me the label and I know it's time to order again before we run out! Works like a charm! " Life does not have to be that difficult!!
Fair World Project does it again!! "but lets not pretend there is any correlation between high quality coffee and making the world a better place. If you want transformation, get involved with the fairtrade movement" (emphasis mine) To read the full article, click on the link. Kudos for plain speak!
We really enjoy reading, and highly recommend, Michael Sheridans coffee blog - always thought-full and often provocative. www.coffeelands.crs.org
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
This week a group of Cooperative Coffees Producer Partners are gathering in Marcala Honduras for a week long certificate program in sustainable agriculture. The course is led by our partners COMSA and supported by Coop Coffees. This is the fruit of a seed planted on our first visit to COMSA back in 2013 when we were blown away by the health of their coffee plants in the midst of the roya crises. And so our journey of learning began as the members of COMSA undertook to share their knowledge of creating healthy soils, healthy people, and healthy communities. The program will cover the gamut including: permaculture, the use of micro-organisms, organic materials, minerales, bio-dynamic farming, food production and coffee growing. Lectures, videos, demonstrations and lots of hands on learning. From Peru to Mexico to Nicaragua, to Guatemala to North America and beyond, small groups of ordinary people doing extraordinary things and so the healing begins....
EVENTS & HAPPENINGS
Common Ground Coop is holding its 6th Annual BOWLATHON Thursday October 20th @ Bathurst Bowlerama, 6-9pm! For more info visit: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/common-ground-co-operative-inc/2016bowlathon/team/alleycats/member/sponsor-the-alley-cats-in-common-ground-co-operati/
Thursday October 20th you can also join in the Toronto Trivia and Beer Tasting Night to benefit St. Simons Shelter! Tickets are $75.00 (you get a tax receipt!) and it starts at 6:30 pm - features beer from Nickel Brook Brewery and lots of eats and treats! The event takes place at St. Simons, 525 Bloor St. East
Saturday Oct 22 5pm at the Toronto Art Gallery, USC is sponsoring the film "Seed: The Untold Story" as part of the Planet in Focus Film festival. visit usc-canada.org
Not really an event but a recycle/reuse/win-win opportunity: Donate your extra reusable bags to the Sorauren Farmers Market bag station (for those poor souls who forget to bring enough of their own - been there done that), and you'll be entered in a raffle to win $100 market bucks! Now that's a pretty fabulous incentive. Market is on every Monday 3-7 pm at Sorauren Park.
Interested in learning more about Fairtrade, Organics and Social Justice? Make sure to check our Resources page for more info and great links!
Check out "Fair trade vs. Free trade" a concise educational and advocacy piece produced by the fairworldproject.org:"Wouldn't it be great if public policies benefited the public, so everyone could prosper, and so-called "free trade agreements" valued our precious resources rather than exploiting people and the planet? As consumers, we have the power to vote with our dollars, as well as to engage in local and federal policy reform in order to help change.." Watch at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNPkiJrk_Bw
And here's another fantastic article via the Fairtrade Federation that provides an inside look of the business behind your daily cup of fairtrade joe - it features our coop and a few of our dedicated partners: www.fairtradefederation.org/what-do-you-know-about-the-business-behind-your-coffee. Read on!!!
Another must read: Cooperative Coffees Position on Fairtrade. Also, do check regularly our coop's news section for great articles, reports from the fields and updates on our members and producer partners, www.coopcoffees.coop/whats-new/external-news.
Do remember to check out Faitrade Proof, one of Coop Coffees' initiatives which addresses "transparency" in fairtrade transactions made by its members. At www.fairtradeproof.org, you can trace the beans you love from farmer to roaster, and learn about the intricate yet rewarding inner workings of fairtrade partnerships.
Remember, if you want to become better acquainted with our fairtrade pricing policy, check out the Fairtrade section of this website. We are always on the look-out for great ideas - things that partner well with us and what we are trying to accomplish through Alternative Grounds. So feel free to drop us a line and share suggestions with our staff.
Also, check out our Greenstuff section for tips and suggestions to help us soften our collective and individual carbon footprint! In this section you'll find neat and fun ideas for the use and re-use of our burlap/jute bags, paper bags, etc. And we bet your compost could use a little of our coffee chaff to lighten its load!! If you are indeed interested, give Linda a call at 416-534-6335
We're Passionate About Fairtrade and Love to Share Our Passion! Over the years we have gathered a good collection of articles, books and videos about different aspects of Fairtrade and coffee. These are available for your perusal on loan. We're also available to do slide shows and presentations. Give us a call to request and book a visit, 416-534-6335.
AND THANKS TO...
Gerry for bringing a quotation from the late Tommy Douglas to our attention:
"Courage, my friends. It is not too late to build a better world."
Words to live by!!