NOTE: Our online shop is currently under repair; please call 416-534-6335 to place your order.
Throughout the past year or so, we've tried to direct some of your attention to the problem of Roya (coffee leaf rust) throughout the coffee community. While our farmers have been living with its devastating consequences, we as consumers are just now coming to feel the vastness of the destruction. Our coop partners have been having a difficult time collecting coffee, what precious little there is. Coyotes from corporate conglomerates wait at the farm gate and offer cash immediately and often above what the coop can pay. There are no concerns or demands of quality; it is volume that is king at this point. This has exaberrated the shortfall that many cooperatives are experiencing in terms of delivering on contracts. First off, coffee is in short supply because of roya and a variety of climate nightmares. This in turn has created enormous demand for what little can be had. Our coop, Cooperative Coffees has renegotiated some of our contracts to give the producer cooperatives a fighting chance at supporting its membership. We are also supporting farmers, in the case of Maya Vinic, by purchasing their transitional coffee. Transitional coffee is coffee that is in the process towards organic certification. It is often difficult to find a market for this coffee as consumers increasingly look for organic certification. This can be very discouraging for farmers who, while doing the work and making the commitment, are not rewarded for it financially. All of this is to give you the heads up that while most of our beloved Chiapan coffee will continue to come from the Maya Vinic Coop, much of it will not carry the organic certification. It is grown with the same passion and care for quality as that which is certified, it is simply on the journey! We trust that you will continue to support the farmers of Maya Vinic and enjoy the coffee that they are so rightly proud of.
GROW AHEAD 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!
- 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 GOOD CATCH GENERAL STORE (1556 Queen W. at Sorauren), and the WEST END FOOD COOP (1229 Queen W. at Dufferin). And 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!!
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
Read the latest on our Coop's Coffee Farmer Resilience Fund! CoopCoffees "is excited to be entering into Round-Two of the CFRF together with Root Capital, Progreso Foundation and other industry allies. Eleven of our partnering Latin American producer cooperatives have benefitted from this funding to improve their capacity to confront and remedy the impact of leaf rust in their fields". Get the full scoop here, www.coopcoffees.coop/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/CFRF-Summary-visual-report.pdf.
We have had a great time over the past few weeks experimenting with our new origin coffee from Laos. The big feature of this coffee is its body - lovely and luscious! Roasted medium it is sweetly simple and mild. In the full city roast that sweetness is developed further, a beautifully balanced cup! Take the roast a bit further and you bring out cocoa notes and cacoa nibb flavours - combined with the body you get one mighty fine cup of coffee!! When it appears at your favourite caffeine pit stop give it a try and let us know what you think. You can learn more about the Laos coop by looking under the coop section of our web site.
"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.
OTHER GOOD STUFF!
Campaign for Climate, Food and Farm Justice! Please read, sign and circulate!! The folks at one of our favorite publications The Fair World Project have put out a call to action and in favor of small-scale farmers, sustainable agriculture and off-setting climate change as part of their World Food Day campaign. CoopCoffees is an endorsing organization and so are we. change Please click on this link to read the full statement www.october16.org/call-to-action/ and become an endorser of this effort towards more sustainable, just and equitable living
Cooperative Coffees AGM goes Solar! Our friends and partners at Kickapoo Coffee are hosting this year's shindig and to make this an extra special occassion, our general meeting will be the first 100% solar powered event in the coop's history. Kickapoo recently became one of the first commercial coffee roasters in the US powered entirely by solar energy! Read all about TJ's and Caleb's journey towards reducing their facility's carbon footprint here http://dailycoffeenews.com/2015/08/06/kickapoo-coffee-goes-full-solar-challenges-other-coffee-companies-to-do-the-same/
Must read article: Specialty Coffee’s Place on the ‘New Global Food Frontier’ by Michael Sheridan, www.dailycoffeenews.com/2015/07/21/specialty-coffees-place-on-the-new-global-food-frontier.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Our Back to School Spotlight: The Healthy Road in Corktown! Located at 518 King Street East (a few steps West from River Street, accessible via the Queen East and King East streetcars).
The Healthy Road is a general store, a beauty shop, and a one stop health hub! Fully stocked with everything needed for a balanced lifestyle, here you can find healthy foods and cleaning products, personal care essentials for you and your pets plus a generous wall of vitamins and supplements. The staff is professional and holistically-trained hence they can provide informed and reliable advice on the spot. And for those east enders who love our coffee but can't make it west, rejoice! The Healthy Road offers a variety of our blends and roasts which they replenish regularly.
Their social media channels and website are regularly updated with articles, recipes, demo videos and other useful content. They also host cooking workshops and hold information sessions on a variety of health topics. Keep up to date by following: www.facebook.com/thehealthyroadcorktown/, twitter.com/thehealthyroad, and instagram.com/healthyroadcorktown/
Hours of operation: Monday to Friday, 10am to 7pm; Saturday 10am to 5pm; CLOSED Sundays.
EVENTS & HAPPENINGS
Fairtrade in September! First, is the Canadian Fairtrade Awards, September 17, at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto! Followed by Fair Trade Campus Week, Monday September 21 to Friday September 25, a celebration of everything fair trade in Campuses across Canada! Excellent timing, as we just happened to ship a fresh batch of fairtrade and organic joe to our friends at OPIRG McMaster!
Then between September 19th-27th is Canada's National Organic Week! Now that is something to celebrate. Pencil this in: Big Carrot will be hosting an organic breakfast in their courtyard Saturday September 26th.
It's Time to Ride4Real Food! It's the 5th annual fundraiser in support of a fantastic food security program in Parkdale. Co-organized by the West End Food Coop, Greenest City and PARC, this year's goal is set $60K which will help directly provide healthy food for those in need, and job training and workplace opportunities for low income people. Also support local farmers and non profit food coop growth. Register to ride, make a donation and find out how to get involved at http://parc.donorpages.com/Ride4RealFood/
Looking for fun and foodie things to do?? Our friends at Abokichi are offerring a series of workshops for making your own onigiri. For dates and to register, visit abokichi.com
USC Canada is recruiting for the RB4 - Run for Biodiversity! The event, which is part of the Scotiobank Waterfront Marathon, takes place October 18th and raises funds for seed-saving farmers in Honduras. Get a team together, walk or run with a buddy on the 5km course! Visit email@example.com for more info and to sign up.
Also in October, it's the Aangen's Annual Fundraising Dinner on Saturday the 3rd from 5:00 to 8:00pm at McCormick Park Cafe and Market located at 66 Sheridan Ave. just south of Dundas Street West. In addition to a meal (vegetarian option available) there will be a silent auction and fashion show (presented by Horizons for Youth) plus a book sale! Tickets are on sale now, $10 includes dinner and one raffle ticket, and $20 includes dinner, dessert & 5 raffle tickets. All proceeds will go towards helping families in need locally and globally. For more info visit Aangen's Facebook page or their Container Cafe on September 19th during the McCormick Park Festival!
Town Hall Meeting! October 6th, 7pm to 9pm (Free admission, All Welcome!), at Toronto City Hall's Council Chambers (100 Queen West, near Osgoode subway station). Meet with Councillor Mike Layton, David Suzuki Foundation's Dr. Faisal Moola, Sarnia's Mayor Mike Bradley, Michigan State senator Phil Pavlov, and many others to hear about an almost approved and highly controversial plans by Ontario Power to bury and abandon nuclear waste 1 km awar from the Great Lakes, a source of drinking water for nearly 40 million people! For more info visit https://www.facebook.com/events/411114992420100/
October is one packed month! The third annual Toronto Queer Zine Fair will unfold October 17th and organizers promise it will be bigger and better than ever! For details, visit http://torontoqueerzinefair.tumblr.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/torontoqzf.. Sneak preview: Our coffee will be on brew throughout the fair!!!
And in November: Save the date!!! It's Casa Canadiense and Pueblito's Brunch and Auction!! November 8th, 11am-3pm at the Lithuanian House, 1573 Bloor Street West. Buy your tickets by calling 416-642-5781 or visit www.casapueblito.org
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).
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
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.
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!!