Quality Instead of Quantity
On a shade grown coffee farm, the yield on each tree is lower since there is not as much sun. However, the quality of the coffee is much better and to us that is what really matters. Shade coffee farming (as opposed to clear cutting for full sun) creates healthy soil content, protects the environment for a myriad of animals and birds, fights global warming, and truly creates a better coffee bean.
Shade Grown Certification
A coffee farmer can get "shade grown" certification - much like "organic certification" verifying their farm is shade grown. However, the process can be lengthy and bureaucratic, and many of the farmers we talk to say they'd prefer not to get certified for shade grown because there isn't the perceived price premium in the market compared to organic certification.
It's Right for the Forest
The forest, is a place of profound natural beauty which helps us recharge and reconnect with the world. Nicaragua's rain forest and its wildlife, the bellbirds, howler monkeys and orchids, are a shared global heritage: an irreplaceable resource with intrinsic value that deserves protection.
It's Right for the Community
Coffee fincas are basically self-contained communities (people+place), and these communities are what protect the forests. These farms are unique places where people and nature must co-exist to benefit both. Without the farms limiting human access to the forest, and without the understanding and cooperation of the people living there, the forest would be quickly lost to wood-cutting, grazing and settlement.
It's Right for the Consumer
Thousands of miles away, the simple act of choosing to buy a particular coffee can have a profound effect on this system. These communities depend on a market for their coffee in order to stay afloat. Our shared challenge is to draw the connection between the activities of the farms themselves - the choice to maintain the forest, to not hunt animals, to plant shade trees, to allow habitat corridors along streams - and the consumer who chooses to support the values evinced by these farms.
Clear Cut "Full Sun" Coffee Farms
Coffee cultivation dates back hundreds of years in the area, during the mid-1800s large tracts of foothill forests of southern Mexico and Central America were divided into estates and planted with coffee. Coffee-growing regions expanded worldwide through the 1980s, often as sun coffee with limited shade and higher chemical inputs as compared with traditional methods. Rogers coffee farms do not follow these trends.
Ecological Assessment Mexico
We had an ecological audit and assessment performed on our farms in Mexico to understand and support the idea that shade grown coffee practices are benefiting birds or other wildlife on these particular farms. Data showed that these farms are supporting significant wildlife populations either within their boundaries, or on adjacent lands to which they control access. Read the whole Mexico Shade Grown Coffee Farm Assessment, here.
Ecological Assessment Nicaragua
We also had an assessment of our Nicaragua farms to examine the actual and potential contribution each farm was making to forest and wildlife conservation in the region, and to us with recommendations and management goals for each property. Read the whole Nicaragua Shade Grown Coffee Farm Assessment, here.