What's New


The fabulous creatures above are Sandhill cranes that we saw on our recent visit to Manitoulin Island - who knew?! They apparently arrive in Spring - 1000's of them - and stay until the Fall. Seems to me they are gearing up for their flight south here. What a wonderful racuous sound they make - maybe not so great if you are trying to snooze but Kevin and I found them fascinating in the farmers field close to our campground.

GG2We finally had the chance to put a face to Rose Diebolt of Garden Gate Restaurant on the island! Rose has been an AG customer for well over a dozen years and I can not tell you how great it was to meet her in person! I was mightily impressed by her  kind and generous demeanour - especially as she was hosting the wedding of her son the following day!! And the food!! GG1

Lots of choice for vegetarians (vegans too) like us, with many of the ingrediants sourced from the island and even the restaurants own garden. The island produces lots of its own beef and fish abound as well. The Garden Gate is a little haven unto itself , surrounded by, you guessed it, lovely gardens.  It is a short drive from the ferry and a great gate-way to Manitoulin's wonderful island culture.


On the heels of Coop Coffees AGM 2014 comes the relaunch of our cooperative's website! Revamped, refreshed and reloaded, we encourage you to give it a tour and learn more about the righteous entity that makes it possible for us to continue offering our customers in Toronto and beyond,  fairtrade and organic certified coffees procured from small and independent thriving farmer-led and democratically organized coops in the global south. Check it out at http://coopcoffees.coop/ 


Get a load of this fine group of coffee renegades meeting on a beautiful Kentucky day in September! Going full steam ahead with fair trade and building a more just world, one coffee bean at a time. Big thanks to fellow partner Heine Brothers in Louisville for hosting this year's Cooperative Coffees AGM. A fantastic experience, a phenomenal city and great plans for the future of our Coop and partnerships.

To follow up from our coffee-flour story with yet another latest, greatest coffee-related innovation, we bring you news of Cascara Tea! It is made from the husks of the coffee cherries. Apparently it is bright and fruity with notes of hibiscus, citrus zest and tobacco. It is all the rage in the US as a soda or a chai blend. I have yet to see it here but am looking forward to sampling it! Love to hear from you if you have tried it.

QRGROW AHEAD has gone MOBILE! Scan this QR code (any QR reader app will do), it'll take you to GA's mobile page where you can become a grower by lending monies towards the financing of a coffee container from one of our coffee producer partners! Want to become part of a truly revolutionary financing model but haven't got a smartphone? You can still make a loan online at www.growahead.org (remember to select Alternative Grounds as your affiliated partner). Coffee addicts, drinkers, fairtraders and farmers unite!


  • Hello Junction! Find our beans at 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! Pick-up your AG java along with your favourite bread, cheese and/or treaties at MABEL's, 323 Roncesvalles Ave. (and 1156 Queen St. West), Hours: 7:30-7:30 weekdays and 9-6pm on weekends. You can also find our fine java when you head south at EVERGREEN NATURAL FOODS, 161 Roncesvalles Ave. And last and not on the strip but close by, 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? No problem! We deliver regularly to the GOOD CATCH GENERAL STORE (1556 Queen W. at Sorauren), and the WEST END FOOD COOP (1229 Queen W. at Dufferin). And still in the west end but just a tad bit north, find us at the NUTHOUSE (1256A Bloor St. West).


gumu1Curious about what makes our Queen E Espresso taste so regal? Go visit our Ugandan producer partner Gumutindo's revamped website www.gumutindocoffee.coop for the scoop! This  farmer coop brings together 7000 members farming in Mt. Elgon (Eastern Uganda). Gumutindo just entered its tenth year of operations and is committed to improving the lives of all their member farmers (youth, women, men, children, eldres) by delivering a variety of community services and infrastructure supported by the income generated through the sale of coffee in the fair trade market. Follow them on twitter for updates !

"My farm was beautiful; it was big.. Coffee rust appeared and wiped out everything," Edwin Diaz (Guatemalan coffee farmer).

leaf rust

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. 

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.

The wait is over! All you who have been pining for our Colombian coffee from Fondo Paez, it is back in stock!


We recently received an email from a young student asking us to endorse a campaign to bring awareness of climate change to the gas pump. We were so impressed we thought we would share it with you! Check it out: http://ourhorizon.org/TEDx, http://globalnews.ca/video/1335461/grade-10-student-pitches-global-warming-warning-on-gas-nozzles.

If you are like me and love our parks, take the time to fill out this survey that is running until the end of September. City of Toronto Parks User Survey

Ontario Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal announced that the province would finally move to limit the use of Neonicotinoids (pesticides) come fall. He is under pressure from large agro-corporations not to do so. If you love to EAT, you have to love the BEES! Time to get those digits busy and tweet @JeffLeal_MPP your support. For more info visit www.organiccouncil.ca/news/action-4-pollinators!

 Check out this article written by fellow Coop Coffees member Matt Earley, www.dailycoffeenews.com/2014/01/22/a-decades-long-struggle-for-peaceful-existence-through-coffee-at-maya-vinic. Maya Vinic is one of your favourite coffees and has had the support of Development and Peace for years. Yes it is fabulous coffee but understanding some of the back story and the on-going reality of the community itself adds a whole other dimension 


UB1Here we shine the spotlight on one of our newest customers: uptown's Uncle Betty's Diner!! Part of the bustling North Toronto Yonge Street strip that runs between Eglinton and Lawrence, this is a place where Diner lovers can get their fair share of comfort food with a gourmet twist!

Weekend brunch is very popular but Lunch and Dinner will not disappoint: Sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, salads and whole lot more with veggie options available. And did we mention they have a fully stocked frozen dairy treats counter and can make a mouth watering ice-cream donut sandwich? UB2Oh yeah, Betty’s sure is a crowd pleaser!

When you drop by make sure to finish your meal with a cuppa of freshly roasted AG Joe: The Queen Espresso and Yirgacheffe Medium on tap! Follow them on twitter @unclebettys, like them on Facebook at theUncleBettys, visit www.unclebettys.com for hours of operation and menus. And head uptown! Address: 2590 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4P 2J3, Phone:(416) 483-2590


Mark your calendars, it's time Run for Biodiversity!!  USC Canada is part for the 4th consecutive year of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon to be held in Toronto October 19. Registered runners will be fundraising to support USC’s work with seed-saving farmers in Honduras. All runners and walkers who join the R4B team will receive discounted registration. Contact  at r4b@usc-canada.org for more details.

boardThe Aangen Community Centre is having its Annual Yard Sale! Drop by, browse and score neat gently used clothing, electronics, books and toys Saturday October 18th between 9am - 3 pm, 868 Dovercourt Road (between Hallam and Bloor). All Proceeds will support Aangen's Send a Girl to School Program, Our Families in Need initiative and its orphanage in Haiti. For more information or make a contribution contact Heather at 416.569.5311.

Have you heard that Toronto's 1st tool library is open in the basement of PARC? (1499 Queen St.W) They are taking donations and looking for volunteers. You can purchase a membership and borrow all the tools needed for that long-delayed project! Find out more at www.irbe.org. You can also call 647-965-5604.

Beit Zatoun Looking for stimulating and mind expanding activities in the city, make sure to review BZ's impressive calendar of events at www.beitzatoun.org/cms/events.aspx for concerts/recitals, art exhibits, workshops, talks and film screenings. Looks like May is going to be jam-packed!!

There will be food! The Sorauren Farmers Market is still happening every Monday (indoors, at the Fieldhouse).


FTcityInterested 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

A must read: Fairtrade Manitoba has published online a piece written by Linda. Thought provoking and insightful, this is something you must check out, www.fairtrademanitoba.ca/why/profile/an-alternative-perspective-on-the-benefits-of-certified-fair-trade . 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!!!

Fairtrade keeners, do you read Coop Coffee's monthly newsletter? You should! Another must read:  Cooperative Coffees Position on Fairtrade.

Also 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.equal exchange

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 at the cafe or on loan. We're also available to do slide shows and presentations. So give us a call at 416-534-6335.


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!!