What's New

january

Let's make it the fairest of them all!!

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confess to a lack of savy re "Linked In" (okay, to a lot of things!!) I am on it and I receive lots of invitations to "connect" but that is about the extent of my knowledge of it. Anyways, scrolling away the other day, I came across something I thought worth sharing from a person named Dallas Philip. "Before you speak, THINK.  T is it true. H is it helpful. I is it inspiring. N is it necessary. K is it kind." Yet another good reason to THINK!

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/ 

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!

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!

  LIKE WALDO, THE AG BEANS ARE EVERYWHERE! FIND THEM AT:

  • 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).

BEAN UPDATES

So1So we are now fully re-loaded with coffee from the Congo! If you have not yet sampled this coffee, now is the time to try it. We roast it as a full-city and as a dark roast - it is lovely and fragrant, BIG and BOLD! Coop Coffee's cupper Ellen, describes it as "sweet, creamy and well-balanced". See if you agree! To find out more about SOPACDI, the coop that brings us this coffee, you can click on this link: www.sopacdi.com

"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!

OTHER GOOD STUFF!

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.

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 

IN THE SPOTLIGHT    

rb1We are kicking off the new year by featuring one of our Downtown TO customers, The Red Bench at 611 Yonge Street (between Isabella and Gloucester). Whether you are walking up or down the street, look out for the red wooden bench out front and the friendly staff inside (see left below: owner Dena and head baker Rajveer).

rb3About this fabulous place: The Red Bench has been purveying downtown dwellers and wanderers with freshly baked cupcakes, cookies, refreshing frozen yogurt and ice cream, comforting loose leaf teas and kickass fairtrade organic and locally roasted AG espresso based drinks - the Queen is the star and it is sold brewed and in whole beans. All the ingredients used in their "as good as homemade" treats are organic, natural, fresh, and locally sourced.

What must you try? : a Queen latte and one or two of their cookies rb2(we highly recommend their Ginger Molasses, Salt Flake City and Movie Night which is stuffed with M&Ms plus Salted Caramel popcorn), yum! Can't wait for summer to try their Ice Cream sandwiches! And there's also the Yogurt swirls in a cone or cup, with an extensive variety of toppings available: from fresh fruits to candies. Looking to buy a birthday cake? The Red Bench bakes to order, call (647) 748-4868 for more information.

The Red Bench Café is open daily from 1pm to 10pm, has free WiFi and a welcoming and very cozy layout with walls celebrating through photos Yonge Street's architectural history. Find the Bench online at www.findtheredbench.ca, and follow @FindTheRedBench, on Twitter and www.facebook.com/FindTheRedBench on Facebook.

EVENTS & HAPPENINGS

board

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).

FAIRTRADE: EDUCATE/ADVOCATE!

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!!!

 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.

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.

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!!