- Coffee at Risk
- September 30th, 2015
By Lynsey Miller, Sales Director at Equal Exchange
Growing coffee on far-flung mountain slopes in ways that respect the earth and build rural communities is quite an accomplishment, there are routine, significant challenges to overcome. Now there is a new threat that is hitting many communities hard all at once.
Coffee Leaf Rust, or roya in Spanish, is a fungus that starts with visible spots on the coffee tree’s leaves. As it progresses, Rust renders the leaves unable to photosynthesize, essentially choking the plant. The fungus spreads from tree to tree, farm to farm, community to community. Its range has reached across continents. Its spread is fast and impact severe. Some farmer co-ops have seen production levels drop 80% in a span of 3 years.
The cause of this plague is due to a variety of factors, but likely one of the most significant is climate change, specifically an increase in temperature in higher altitudes where this fungus previously could not have thrived. This is an example of how unsustainable use of resources in industrialized countries contributes to climate changes that leave some of the most vulnerable communities to bear the biggest burden.
For some farmers, the solution to Rust is chemical. But the most effective fungicides are not organic and are unrealistic solutions for our farmer partners. For farmers committed to small-scale, organic production, the answers need to fit that model. Through their own field tests, farmers report that the best results come from bolstering soil health and replacing diseased trees.
Equal Exchange has responded in two ways. The first is to continue doing what we do: focusing not just on a product, but on the people and infrastructure that grow the product. We provide pre-harvest financing, support replanting projects and facilitate info-sharing between farmers. We have also dedicated $150,000 this year to directly fund Coffee Leaf Rust projects that farmers are managing in Mexico, El Salvador, Peru, and Guatemala.
Equal Exchange products will be on sale in October and we hope to draw attention both to the serious challenge of Coffee Leaf Rust, and to the perseverance and leadership of small farmers in finding better solutions. With your help and your purchases, together we continue to fuel an alternative trade model that does more than just trade.
For more thoughts and analysis on this ongoing work, please visit our website and blog:
- Sandwich Menu
- September 17th, 2015
Pick one of these great sandwiches, or create your own!
- Local in the Produce Aisle
- August 28th, 2015
With August rapidly running into September, the summer harvest will transition to the fall harvest and we’ll start seeing some fall-time favorites like squash and sweet potatoes. But for now we’re relishing in late summer treats like melon, carrots, peppers, summer squash, and a hearty supply of field tomatoes (and a whole lot more). Where is all this organic produce coming from? Right down the road.
Living Land Farm
(from their website) At Living Land Farm, our goal is to be a shining example of how a farm can be ecologically sustainable, economically viable, and provide healthy organic food for the local community. Our farm will be a place for everyone to learn about how humans fit into their environment in a healthy, positive, and productive way. Find out more about Living Land Farm on their Facebook page or website, or just talk with anyone in the produce aisle.
East Henderson Farm
(from their website) Our farm has been in Josh’s family for 4 generations, and we are now raising the 5th generation. We have a passion for sustainability, community development, building restoration, and local history. Almost all of our farm buildings have been moved in or re-built from salvaged lumber. Our farm is 40 acres, including 20 acres of wooded ravines where our maple syrup tapping occurs, 10 acres of pasture for rotating our animals, and 6 acres of fields for growing our veggies. Our home, pack shed and out buildings take up the rest of the acreage. lives on. Find out more about East Henderson Farm on their Facebook page or website, or just talk with anyone in the produce aisle.
Kohnert Organic Farms
Kohnert Organic Farms has been a wholesale supplier of organic medicinal herbs since the late 1980′s. In it’s second generation, and a third in training, the Kohnerts are not your typical farmers. With specialized crops and vast knowledge of the land and their products, they were an ideal partner for the Co-op. Carving out a small portion of their land, they began growing organic produce for the Co-op a few years ago. If you haven’t tried their beets, you’re really missing out. Find out more on their Facebook page or talk to a produce staff member (or grab Jenn, she’s our bulk buyer).
- 35th Anniversary Video
- June 23rd, 2015
Here’s to 35 years, St. Peter.
- Class Recipes
- June 16th, 2015
Stuffed vegetables are a great way to utilize the abundant local produce available this time of year.
Emily shared some light and easy meal and snack ideas, perfect for summer. This was Emily’s last class with us, thanks for a great run!
Cody delighted us with fabulous ideas for using local produce during this peak harvest season. You catch the fall edition of Seasonal Produce on October 8.
Stefanie shared yet another wonderful edition of Italian Cooking with us. Her recipes included a new take on meat loaf and a rich and flavorful tiramisu.
Vicki’s recipes go way beyond your standard nut and seeds tastings…from homemade mustard to a flavorful curry mix.
Emily shared some cost-effective, simple recipes using five ingredients or less. Tasty and for the taste buds and the eyes.
- How-to: Grind-Your-Own Nut Butter
- February 17th, 2015
Jenn, our bulk buyer here at the Co-op, took some time to show off our nut grinders (almond and peanut) and explains how to use them.
- Freshness: you can’t get a fresher nut butter
- No additives, just peanuts or almonds
- Add-your-own mix-ins: honey, salt, raisins, cinnamon…
- Portion control: take as much or as little as you like
- Delightfully delicious
- Compost at the Co-op
- January 23rd, 2015
The Co-op deli has been composting in the back for well over a year, diverting 27 tons of waste from the landfill. Just this week, we drilled new holes in the garbage area, so we could compost in the seating area, too. Take note of the change and we’ll report back on how much waste we’re turning into soil, instead of into the landfill. Where’s it going? Full Circle Organics has a composting facility in Good Thunder.