With over 151 million 60kilo bags of coffee consumed a year, coffee has become more than ‘just’ a cup of joe – today it is associated with a bustling and vibrant scene that epitomizes the coffee culture.
Its morning kick is celebrated daily, but on Sunday 1st October producers, traders and coffee lovers from around the globe will be uniting to celebrate the International Coffee Organization’s annual #InternationalCoffeeDay. This day is a celebration that goes beyond the cup– it is a chance to take a sip and think about the journey of coffee from the farm to your local drinking hotspot. It is an opportunity to honor the men and women who grow and harvest the beans that kick start our mornings. And to demonstrate just how much we all love our coffee, preceding International Coffee Day is #NationalCoffeeDay in the US, celebrated on 29th September.
As coffee is one of the world’s most traded commodities, it is also the economic backbone of countries throughout Latin America, Asia and Africa. Yet smallholder farmers in these regions face many challenges, including poverty, commodity price fluctuations and increasingly erratic rainfall and weather patterns caused by climate change. Since 1995, the Rainforest Alliance has strengthened the position of coffee farmers by training them in sustainable agriculture methods that boost yields and safeguard the health of the land for future generations.
To celebrate #InternationalCoffeeDay, we’re showcasing three of our coffee heroes and hero groups, who have worked with the Rainforest Alliance to support a stronger planet:
- Leticia Monzon, Coffee farmer, Guatemala
Leticia and her husband run a small coffee farm in Northern Guatemala, and have worked hard to achieve the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal, as part of a smallholder group. Since receiving Rainforest Alliance training, Leticia’s farm has experienced less pollution, with garbage and waste water now being filtered and disposed of responsibly – all of which have led to a better well-being for her family, and for her community.
- Ferdinand, Coffee Farmer, Rwanda
In rural Rwanda, where roughly one in four people lack access to a safe water source, many communities rely on rivers and streams to drink, wash, clean, farm, and play. Farmers like Ferdinand use sustainable agriculture techniques to keep his community’s water safe and unpolluted. This means cleaner water and healthier rivers, which is good news for communities downstream!
- Rural farming community, Oaxaca, Mexico
The coffee farmers in Santa Lucía Teotepec, a rural area in Oaxaca, Mexico, have felt the impacts of climate change in their everyday lives. Changes in weather patterns and rainfall effected farm productivity—and consequently, the livelihoods of farmers and their families. Working with the Rainforest Alliance, 150 smallholder coffee farmers participated in an innovative forest carbon project to combat climate change and boost climate resilience – and in 2015 the group earned validation from one of the most rigorous greenhouse gas accounting programs in the world, the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).
So on International Coffee Day and EVERY day, raise your cup of coffee in a salute to the heros behind the coffee and their commitment to a sustainable future for all.