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Social Responsibility

Sustaining Educational and Environmental Development at Source.


In 2010, we created a program called Seeds to codify our commitment to supporting projects in coffee-growing communities that improve the natural environment and promote education. Creating great coffee requires collaborating, sharing information and learning from the experiences of others: whether training the children of coffee growers to cup their coffees or leading workshops on clean coffee-processing methods, we recognize that we are able to take steps toward equity through education.

Farms that actively care for their physical environment are even more rare than farms that produce great quality. Often, the incredible commitment of time, money, labor, and resources go unrecognized by buyers and coffee lovers. Without incentives for conservation and sustainable coffee farming, these incredible farms may well disappear.

We dedicate one penny per pound of coffee we purchase to our Seeds projects and on average, we support four to five projects annually with partner farms in communities worldwide. Profiles of past Seeds projects can be found as Updates tagged Seeds.

Counter Culture producers, if you are interested in applying for funds Seeds program, click here.

Proveedores de Counter Culture. Si Ud. tiene interés en aplicar para fondos del programa Seeds, haga clic aquí.


In every region of the United States where we open a training center, we also look to build relationships with community-based organizations that focus on two issues: sustainable agriculture and hunger prevention and alleviation—sometimes referred to as food security. We see the benefits of sustainable agricultural practices and environmental stewardship in coffee farming and we believe in supporting those principles globally. The same is true for food security: scarcity of nutritious food is an issue that affects both the communities where we source coffee and at home, and often, we are able to join forces with our customers to support non-profits doing great work locally.

We use the same funding mechanism of a penny per pound, in this case of coffee sold, to set our annual budget for domestic contributions and we provide that support in the form of in-kind coffee donations and brewing service.

Local Donations

If you represent an organization doing work on sustainable agriculture or food security issues in one of the US cities where we have a training center, and you are interested in support from Counter Culture, please click here.

In the Office

Health insurance, a subsidized 401(k) and profit sharing (not to mention free coffee) comprise the core of our employee benefits, but in the past few years we have added a few non-traditional programs to promote our values, including community supported agriculture (CSA) shares for all of our training centers and an employee green fund that provides up to $500 in matching funds per employee annually for individual projects that contribute to environmental or personal well-being. Employee experiences and testimonials can be found on our Facebook page.

We are excited to share our work! 

Related Updates:
At Counter Culture, we talk a lot about transparency and partnership in relation to how we buy coffee. Both are essential to improving the quality and sustainability of the coffees we purchase in direct ways: Transparency builds trust and trust helps us build the partnerships that make continuous...
A few weeks ago, I was part of a meeting with other coffee roasters in which one company kept referring to producers as "suppliers." In a strict definitional sense that's true, but the word "suppliers" struck me as negative. I think part of that has to do with my past—I interned in college for a...
When I started this blog back in the spring, I began with trying to answer "What is sustainable coffee?" I knew from the outset that this was a bit of a rhetorical question, but I thought I could at least put some parameters around an answer—I needed to for my own piece of mind. Almost a year later...
We were first introduced to the Durham Living Wage Project back in May during our 2015 Sustainable Spring event series. Our support team was asked to find businesses or organizations in their communities doing inspiring work in sustainability and invite them to speak at our training centers. Our...
Sustainability Manager Meredith Taylor visited East Timor last month. It was the first time anyone from Counter Culture has visited the country. Since 2002, coffee has been a major export for East Timor, and Meredith was excited for the opportunity to check out this under-the-radar origin. Read...