Cooperative Coffees celebrated its 15th anniversary recently, and it all started with a road trip in this van! Bet Bill Harris had no inkling there would be 130 of us celebrating in his roastery 15 years later!!! Alternative Grounds was the 1st Canadian member and joined in the 1st year of the Coop's existence.
We connected through our search for Zapatista coffee and have journeyed together ever since. 900 containers and 34 million pounds of coffee later, the Coop and its now 21 member strong ownership plus 2 offices staffed by amazing folks, continue the effort to support and promote small farmer communities and the on-going struggle for equitable, sustainable and just trade. This is Felipe who works on our green desk in Montreal - clearly much loved by farmers and roaster members alike!
This is me with Carlos Reynoso, the General Manager of Manos Campesinas. We met on my very first Cooperative Coffees coffee trip, which included an overnight in the warehouse of the coop APECAFORM in Northern Guatemala. We have purchased their coffee ever since. Manos continues to work with coffee farmers throughout Guatemala and their great work is definitley reflected in your cup.
It was a great opportunity to reconnect with old friends, put faces to names, begin building new relationships and simply reflect on the wonder of this thing that is Cooperative Coffees. Many thanks to all - I so look forward to what comes next on the journey!!
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
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
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/
Scan this QR code, become a grower! At GROW AHEAD, coffee consumers can make loans to producer farmers who make their daily cups of joe a reality. 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!
Read the latest on our Coop's Coffee Farmer Resilience Fund! CoopCoffees "is excited to be entering 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.
"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!
Looking for gifts for the coffee geeks in your life? Consider the “Canadiano" by
@fishtnk, a tried, tested and brewing a solid cuppa pour over filter made of wood and metal. It loves our coffee! Check it out at www.canadiano.co and https://vimeo.com/147253224
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!
Did you know that the World Social Forum will be held in Montreal in August of this year? In fact, Cooperative Coffees is on the organizing committee. We are booking our accommodation early as they are expecting the world!! Check it out!
We really enjoy reading, and highly recommend, Michael Sheridans coffee blog - always thought-full and often provocative. www.coffeelands.crs.org
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
It's April and our Spotlight shines on The Enigma Cafe. Located in at 1556 Bloor Street West at Dundas (just a few steps from Dundas West Subway station and a stroll from High Park). Hours of operation: Tuesday-Friday 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, Saturday 9 am to 4 pm, Closed Sunday. Free WiFi.
If you are out and about in the West End and looking for all day breakfast fare, comfort food, diner style sweet and savoury crowd pleasers; make sure to stop at the Enigma Cafe to satisfy yor cravings. The food is prepared daily using fresh ingredients and the menu is generous with options.
Always on tap, Alternative Grounds coffee, which is also available for take out brewed, or in beans and ground by the pound.
We have been meaning to drop by and are glad we finally did! This is a family owned community hub, and a great spot to sample local art, chill with a good book (BYOB or take a pick from their shelves), or just enjoy a satisfying meal and a lovely cuppa joe. The Enigma is also available for small group reservations. Visit and follow www.facebook.com/newenigmacafe for menu updates, specials and booking information.
EVENTS & HAPPENINGS
Monday May 9th 7-9 pm Bain Coop (Broadview and Gerrard area) COG is offerring a beginner edible garden workshop. PWYC. For more info, check out this link: http://www.cogtoronto.org/COG_Toronto/Events.html
May 14th is busy! That Saturday is the Parkdale Hort Plant Sale too! This year the sale is being held at Roncesvalles United Church (formerly Howard Park) on the NW corner of Roncie. 10-2pm. There is a Green Elephant Garden table, edibles and of course tons of plants and vendors!! Inspiration and info provided!!! cash sales only please.
Spring Cleaning? Please consider donating your items to Aangen Spring Yard Sale! Looking for gently used items: electronics, housewares, shoes, books, clothing, etc. WISH LIST ITEMS: Urgently in need Toddler Bed, Kitchen Table, Pots, Pans, Crockpot, Food, Grocery Cards. Sale will take place at McCormick Park on Saturday May 14th. All monies raised will help families in need locally and globally. Contact Heather at 416-569-5311 for drop-off and pick-up information.
Attention Film Buffs: REEL ABILITIES film fest runs between May 12-19 @ the Tiff Lightbox. The festival offers a fine assortment of movies and docs showcasing stories and art of people who are differently abled. Schedule, prices and other information posted at toronto.reelabilities.org
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!!