By the numbers:
$80 billion: Annual worth of trade in coffee–the world’s second most-traded commodity after oil.
28 million: Number of small farmers growing coffee in more than 50 countries.
1: The United States’ rank among the world’s coffee importers.
$26: Cost to U. S. consumers for some specialty Ethiopian coffee beans per pound–though farmers may net less than 80 cents for those same beans.
2: Coffee’s rank among most-pesticided crops, after cotton.
Shade-grown: Coffee bushes cultivated in a modified forest. Trees filter direct sunlight, nourish the soil, and provide critical habitat for migratory songbirds.
Organic: Certified farmers adhere to practices that enhance biodiversity and promote soil health–and do not use harmful chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides.
Fair Trade: Certified importers agree to pay a minimum price (now $1.26 per pound) and provide credit to small farmers. Many fair traders also fund projects benefiting local communities, from digging wells to reforestation.
Make a difference
If you make coffee at home: A pound of beans makes about 40 cups. So at $11 per pound–an estimated average for organic fair-trade java — that breaks down to less than 30 cents a cup.
If you buy coffee drinks: Try to choose a shop that serves all fair-trade beans. If you visit one that carries only one kind of fair trade (or none), ask the manager why. And let him/her know you’d appreciate seeing fair trade choices.
Delicious Living is the go-to resource for the natural and organic lifestyle, helping readers eat well, live green, and stay healthy. Visit deliciouslivingmag.com for more articles and free recipes.