What's New

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I could not believe that it has been more than 50 years since the scandal of mercury poisoning of Grassy Narrows. Harder still to believe that so little has changed. Which is why River Run 2014 is so important! Tuesday July 29th 6:30 pm at Ryerson University, join Stephen Lewis, Judy da Silva and Leannie Simpson for an informative evening about the situation of Grassy Narrows today. Tickets are available on-line or at the door. All proceeds go to support Grassy Narrows in their efforts to stop the proposed clear cut logging in the area. Check out freegrassy.net for tickets and info and while there sign the on-line petition to Kathleen Wynn and the Liberals. Tell your friends! There is also a walk and rally on Thursday July 31st beginning at 12pm at Grange park.

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",  fairworldproject.org/in-the-news/fair-world-projects-statement-in-response-to-the-fair-trade-employment-and-poverty-reduction-in-uganda-and-ethiopia-report

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: www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/04/coffee-flour-the-java-you-can-eat and www.intellectualventures.com/vignettes/coffee-flour/

 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

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“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!

OTHER GOOD STUFF!

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!

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

IN THE SPOTLIGHT    

JOshThis end of summer spotlight shines on one of our own: man of many hats Josh Walters! Josh is AG's newest member but a pro after a few months of getting in the deep of fairtrade organic beans and grounds!

This talented New York native and a west-ender ensures our wholesale distribution operation runs smoothly, from taking orders to grinding coffee and prepping all packages containig freshly roasted joe that make their way into the Canada Post truck (here he is with our CP rep Talia, smile!).

Josh is an avid cyclist and garden enthusiast. He is our delivery specialist on two-wheels plus trailer bringing java joy to the shelves of Sunny Joes, Evergreen and Mabels!

EVENTS & HAPPENINGS

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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).

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!!!

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.

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!!