By buying shade grown coffee, you can help keep this coffee cost-effective and feasible for farmers. You will also help to preserve increasingly scarce wildlife habitats, such as those where tropical migratory birds live. If you are not aware of the politics and social problems associated with coffee, please read on.
Traditional coffee needs to grow under a canopy of different shade trees. The trees protect the coffee plants from sun and rain, help maintain soil quality, and help with pest control. They also contribute nutrients to the soil and reduce erosion.
Modernization: Eliminating Shade Grown Coffee
Coffee growers, weighed down by debt, have tried to "modernize" their growing practices over the last 25 years by getting away from shade grown coffee. New species of sun grown coffees produce a higher yield, but they need chemical fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides. Hence, they are not organic and contribute to the pollution problem. Sun coffee also cause increased erosion and noxious runoff.
In the mid-altitudes in Central America, Mexico, Colombia, and the Caribbean, most of the rainforests still standing are on coffee plantations. They are the last refuge for birds and other wildlife that have lost their homes to deforestation. When you buy shade grown coffee, you help ensure the preservation of the traditional way of life for coffee farmers, wildlife, and the forests and ensure that the land is kept healthy by organic farming.