What's New


Ontario Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal announced that the province would like to limit the use of Neonicotinoids (pesticides) come fall. If you love to EAT, you got to love BEES! Time to get those digits busy and tweet @JeffLeal_MPP your support. For more info visit www.organiccouncil.ca/news/action-4-pollinators!

It was hard to avoid the media frenzy over a report that claimed fairtrade was failing to make a difference in the lives of poor farmers, particularly wage labourers. While the report contained some useful information and insights, it was to a large extent, taken out of context. What was particularly disappointing to me was the absolute glee people seemed to take in pointing out the "failures"of fairtrade, while failing to point out the economic, social and environmental disaster that has characterized conventional trade throughout the centuries. There is a ton of interesting commentary out there but I thought I would post this link to a thoughtful response by Dana Geffner that appears in "The Fairworld Project""  http://fairworldproject.org/in-the-news/fair-world-projects-statement-in...

If you don't get up at 5:30 am you might have missed the bit on Metro Morning about coffee flour! As a way to address global hunger it sounds interesting though I will continue to enjoy mine hot and liquid! The piece neglected to mention that currently most of the coffee fruit or "pulp" is in fact not wasted, but a key component of composting which then supports the growth of food crops and coffee plants. Here are a couple of links about the flour that Susy found.  http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/04/coffee-flour-the-java-you-can-eat/360149/; http://www.intellectualventures.com/vignettes/coffee-flour/
'Coffee Flour': The Java You Can Eat, www.theatlantic.com.. Coffee's future may involve some not-so-average Joe.



GROW 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 affiliate cafe).

Make sure to check out the most recent launch update from founder Angel Mario as we get set to begin a new loan cycle.. www.growahead.org/blog/new-loan-cycle-launch. Coffee addicts, drinkers, fairtraders and farmers unite!


  • Hello Junction! Our beans occupy the shelves of 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! Now you can pick-up our beans along with your favourite bread, cheese and/or treatie at MABEL's, 323 Roncesvalles Ave. - as well as their 2nd location at 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).


leaf rust

“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 the most recent article on the Roya crisis by our own Coop Coffees Monika. This great piece addresses the crisis impact on farmers and was recently published Canada's Media Co-op, an online magazine that covers "news from the grassroots". Read article by clicking on this link!

It's here! For those of you who did not get a chance to taste our only bag of Congo for Furaha Coop, we have received our first bag from Sopacdi Coffee Cooperative from the Congo!!  This is the result of a joint effort with UK fellow fairtrader Twin Trading Company and is the "mother" coop which nurtured Furaha cooperative.  Sopacdi Coop is composed of approx. 5,600 farmers from different ethnic groups living in the Kivu Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, who have come together "after years of conflict and civil war, our Fairtrade-certified coffee promotes working together for a better future". For more information visit http://alternativegrounds.com/cooperatives-0 and while there you can visit fairtradeproof  to check out our producer contracts. Cupping notes coming soon!


Trent University becomes Canada's 8th Fair Trade Campus! “Achieving this milestone underscores what Trent strives to be: a sustainable and collaborative campus, an advocate for social change, and having the interests of its students at heart,” Laura Storey, director of housing and chair of the Fair Trade Committee at Trent University. “Issues around food, fair trade and sustainability have been at the forefront of our campus over the last few years. In response, the Fair Trade Committee has worked hard to gain this status.” Read more at www.cftn.ca/resources/blog/trent-university-announces-designation-canadas-8th-fair-trade-campus

  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 

We are one of the roasters featured in this months Roasters Pack (www.theroasterspack.com)  They are "coffee curators" who specialize in bringing coffee from roasters across Canada to your door. Their tag line is "Great Coffee, Great Stories, delivered to your Door". You can see a brief video of me on twitter @theRoastersPack talking about fairtrade and our coffee. 

WE'RE ON FACEBOOK + TWITTER!!  Want to know what's up with us and our mighty beans? Follow our tweets at @altgrounds & like us at www.facebook.com/alternativegroundscoffee


FP1Summer is here at last and what better time to get out there and explore our wonderful city! Our spotlight shines on an East Ender newbie but a very artsy goodie, The Flying Pony cafe, 1481 Gerrard Street East (Corner of Gerrard St and Rhodes Avenue, TTC and bike accessible!).

FP2This fantastic new addition to an ever changing strip of indie businesses in the heart of little India is a must stop. A coffee shop, bakery and art gallery - now who can ask for anything more?! Baking everyday fresh and delicious savoury and sweet treats, owner Andrew also takes orders for custom birthday cakes which we hear are quite fine and delicious.

The cafe is not only a comfy laid back place to enjoy a freshly brewed cup of AG fairtrade joe as well as take beans to go but is also an artist run gallery. Here you can check out an "exciting array of contemporary fine art from emerging & mid career artists in two gallery spaces with over 1600sqft of exhibition space".FP3

The Flying Pony offers a space for art parties and exhibits, and is open 7 days a week, from 8am to 6pm. For more info visit www.flyingpony.ca and follow them at www.facebook.com/pages/Flying-Pony.

What are you waiting for? Go east, check out the art, enjoy a cup of our coffee and take some beans home!


Thursday July 10th from 6:30 -9 pm at Parkdale Public Library, join the discussion on the future of Queen Street between Roncie and Bathurst

Saturday July 12th from 7-11pm. check out the Junction Night Market featuring craft food, beer and wine. All in support of the Junction Farmers Market


Our neighbourhood movie house launched ‘Renew the Revue’ crowd-funding campaign. Our beloved cinema is due for a facelift (plumbing, lighting, wall treatments, doors, walls and floors) and needs to raise $90,000 towards the total estimated costs of $150,000. To make a donation, go to www.rockethub.com/32787 

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!

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!!