Sustaining Educational and Environmental Development at Source
As a business driven by people, sustainability, and education, we recognize that our success depends on the long-term stability of our supply chains, and we invest years in building relationships that benefit everyone – from the coffee drinkers on one end of our supply chain to coffee producers on the other.
As a coffee-roasting company, we are part of many communities in the U.S. and abroad. In producer communities, the goals we set and the challenges we face in each coffee relationship vary between cultures, countries and even between farms in the same village. One thing all of the these communities have in common, no matter the size of the farms or the preferred language of the growers, is that they revolve around coffee: it is the primary source of income and employment, and as such, coffee has more potential to generate positive change than anything else. We know that our coffee purchases can be the most important factors in the sustainable development of a community, but we also recognize that we have the power to increase our impact and support our business partners by contributing money, resources, and time to projects that benefit the community additionally in different, but tangible ways.
Seeds represents our commitment to seeking out those opportunities to effect change in the realms beyond coffee purchasing: Sustaining Educational and Environmental Development at Source is the program we have created to support our partners in their efforts to create healthy, stable communities.
Education and the Environment
Creating great coffee requires collaborating, sharing information, and learning from the experiences of others. It grows out of a willingness to be a teacher and a student simultaneously and to learn from tradition while embracing innovation. Since we began our work, we have learned an incredible amount about coffee. We have also seen that the best way to empower coffee-growing individuals and communities is to expand their capacity for action and involvement within the supply chain. Whether training the children of coffee growers to cup or leading workshops on clean coffee-processing methods, we make steps toward equity through education across a range of ages and on a diverse array of topics.
We are committed to supporting the preservation of the natural environment in and around coffee-growing communities. Coffee grows in some of the most biologically diverse and resource-rich areas of the world, and while coffee has the potential to help protect these places, more often coffee competes with endemic flora of its surrounding ecosystem. Farms that actively care for the natural environment are as rare, or perhaps even more rare, than farms that produce great quality because while environmentally sustainable agriculture requires an incredible commitment of time, money, labor and resources, too often the added costs go unrecognized by buyers and coffee lovers. Without incentives for conservation and sustainable coffee farming, these incredible farms, and their surroundings, will disappear and affect not only the water, air, soil and health of the communities where we purchase coffee, but also the water, air, soil, and health of communities all over the world, including our own.
Choosing Our Projects
Sometimes, we find projects and other times, projects find us. Opportunities for community development exist everywhere we work, and we think carefully about where and how to invest our time and resources in order to have as much positive impact as possible. We encourage our grower partners to apply for funding for projects via the online application form here. Likewise, we encourage non-profit organizations doing educational and environmental development work in the areas where we purchase coffee that might be interested in undertaking a project in one of our partner communities to apply for funding. Ideas and initiative may also come from our customers or from organizations based in the United States. Most often, projects arise from routine idea-sharing sessions between coffee producers and Counter Culture Coffee and, with enthusiasm and passion, take on a life of their own.
Whether we work solely with our partner cooperative, farm, or a development NGO like Coffee Kids, depends on the circumstances of the project. We believe that our partners have invaluable perspectives on the needs and opportunities in their communities, but sometimes, we need the experience of an expert to guide us in creating a solid educational or environmental program that will have a lasting impact.
Many Seeds projects receive funding from Counter Culture Coffee’s Penny Per Pound program, which allocates at least one penny for each pound of coffee we purchase to supporting development projects in coffee-growing communities. Because all projects are different, there is no minimum or maximum donation amount, but our average donation to a single, short-term project is $3,000. We also appreciate opportunities to partner with others – our customers, development agencies, and even other coffee companies – to increase our impact.
We are excited about our work and we want to share our experiences with anyone who has an interest in learning from us and asking questions. Profiles of past projects, as well as outcomes and observations, will be publicly accessible on our website. We hope to generate dialogue and to learn from the experiences of others, and we encourage you to send your questions and ideas for projects to email questions and ideas for projects.
Attention: Counter Culture producers, if you are interested in applying for funds Seeds program, click here.
Atención: proveedores de Counter Culture. Si Ud. tiene interés en aplicar para fondos del programa Seeds, haga clic aquí.