A Little Further South Commits to Sustainable Coffee Challenge

A Little Further South Coffee is committed to a sustainable coffee chain. We’re now involved in the Sustainable Coffee Challenge which seeks to make the coffee the first sustainable crop. It’s a big effort and is supported by many in the industry.

Since we work directly with farmers via coffee purchases, and also through the Curibamba Coffee Project, this is a natural fit for us.

Here’s a link to an article about the Challenge:

Unveiled last December during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Sustainable Coffee Challenge has a stated goal of making coffee the world’s first sustainable agricultural product.

Source: The Sustainable Coffee Challenge Roadmap: What is It? | Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine

Through our work with the only Biodynamic certified farm in Peru, Chacra D’dago, we’ve seen the amazing difference that a biodiverse, self sustaining environment can make with food production & of course, coffee.

A biodynamic farm is self contained, using their own fertilizers in a fertile “loop” that is not only sustainable, but coupled with rare plants and microbes, provides trace elements that are not often present in traditional farms.

What’s exciting about the challenge is the aspect of economic viability as part of the sustainable goal for coffee. While markets may go up and down, costs remain fixed & for their long term viability, every farmer needs to be a recognized part of the overall supply chain.

Every consumer, whether they be coffee aficiando, roaster, or importer can help by searching for ethically sourced, environmentally friendy coffees.

It’s a new endeavor, and many questions lead to yet more questions. The enormity & the possiblility of the impact that it could have is both daunting and inspiring. As we move ahead with this effort, we’ll keep you posted…

Coffee Tree Villa Rica, Peru

Real People, Really Good Coffee Update February 2016

It’s soon to be spring here in Arizona, and already talk is to the harvest of 2016.  and we are making new friends and contacts, each helping to grow our direct trade coffee business, and hopefully impact a few more lives in the coffee supply chain. This month, not a whole lot new to report, but behind the scenes many things are happening in the fields… Read more

2016 New Year’s Coffee Links

Happy New Year 2016! We start a new year, a little fresher, perhaps reminiscent. Wherever we are today, one thing is for sure: last year is over. Welcome New Year, and may it bring the best to all of us.

I’ve been able to do some reading over the holidays in between family, and odd bits of work that cropped up. Here are some that I feel worthy of your attention:

Ethical Coffee

Modern Slavery in the Coffeelands

This eight part series by Michael Sheridan investigates Brazils efforts to reduce slavery in agriculture. A must read.

Three Reasons Why You Should Drink Direct Market Coffee From the vault…

Equity for Coffee Farmers via Fortune

Odds & Ends

A Photo Journey to La Revancha Estate

A Coffee Bar Recording Studio in Brooklyn Via Sprudge: A Coffee Loving Musicians dream studio

Dating a Coffee Lover 5 Things You Need to Know Lots of good info on what makes your coffee loving significant other tick. Via: Perfect Daily Grind

The Rise of the Robot Barista: Fact or Fiction

Ports of Long Beach & Los Angeles Seek Expanded Latin Trade

Coffee crisis to hit within three years as finer tastes lead to shortage

Best wishes for a truly happy and prosperous 2016!

Real People, Really Good Coffee Update December 2015

December is the month of short days in the northern hemisphere. As I write this today, however I’m in Peru where summer has recently started. Yet, in spite of the disconnect from my “normal” winter hibernation mode, it is still a time of reflection and remembrance as the year ends and a new one soon starts.

The year in review: From the farms

The Curibamba Coffee Project

This year we started to see good things at every level. The farmers seem to be more enthusiastic about the project than ever, and it’s no wonder with coffee prices being in the basement. Overall quality of the coffee has improved each year, and with a large effort to get solar drying tents and tables into the majority of the smallholder farms we’re expecting that quality will be better again with the 2016 harvest.

Meanwhile, we’re streamlining the purchase process, and besides buying the higher quality micro lots, we’ll be also buying coffees that are specialty grade (although below the quality of the best lots,) and paying a premium to be able to fully support the coffee growing community in the hills above San Ramon. Rather than picking and choosing only the “winners,” we’re taking a more holistic approach, and making sure that every farmer has an opportunity to receive a just price for their coffee. We will continue to test each and every lot in the lab, and work for the highest quality possible.

Curibamba was featured in Expo Milan this year, as well as the Mistura Foodie Fair in Lima. It’s currently being sold and enjoyed mainly in the southwest states of Colorado, California, Arizona, Nevada, & New Mexico, but also as far east as Ohio and Wisconsin.

We will continue to focus our support efforts on solar drying tents and tables, but we’re also working with agricultural engineers to see what might best serve the growers. It may be new coffee trees, or strategic washing stations, we’re awaiting input from the fields.

Every year brings more education on the specifics of harvesting, fermenting, and drying. Edegel will be funding not only the educational programs, but will continue funding for the agricultural engineers, organic fertilizers and assistance with promotional programs for the brand. Read more

What’s After Organic? Biodynamic Farming is the Future

Demeter Biodynamic Logo

 

Organic food standards have raised not only the quality of many common foods, but perhaps even more importantly raised consciousness about what we consume. Some wonder what is the next level? It’s here and it’s biodynamic.

 

A recent article in a popular health magazine touches on the subject of biodynamic agricultural methods which have been around for over 90 years, but only more recently have begun to attract a following of health seeking individuals.

(We’re proud to offer Biodynamic Certified Coffee from Chacra D’dago in Peru. (See below.)

What’s After Organic? The Rise of Biodynamic Farming

Free from synthetic pesticides and chemical herbicides. Non-genetically engineered seeds. No industrial solvents. These attributes are hallmarks of USDA Organic, the strict, government-regulated label that determines how foods ranging from produce to dairy to meats are grown, raised and managed.

Chances are, a large percentage of foods you buy in your natural products retailer are organic—and for good reason. A 2015 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that participants who usually ate organic foods had lower levels of organophosphate pesticides in their urine than people who never ate organic foods. Plus, organic farming practices can mitigate climate change effects by reducing—and even capturing—carbon emissions from the atmosphere and storing them in the soil. Read more

Vournas Coffee Trading and Growers First Team up in Oaxaca to Fight Coffee Rust

 

Coffee Rust has devastated the coffee growing communities of Central and South America. In some cases as much as 75-90% of crops can be lost, and in a community where every dollar is precious.

 

Vournas Coffee Trading of Westlake Village, CA has been working with Growers First to provide new coffee seedling in areas that have been hard hit by “la roya” or coffee rust. This post describes a recent replanting trip to Oaxaca, Mexico.

Last month I arrived in Oaxaca, Mexico and began a two day journey to the isolated coffee community of Ixtepec. This was no vacation. Traveling with Dave Day and Geron Gray of Growers First, I was part of a call-to-action aimed at saving a group of farmers whose coffee crop had been ravaged by la roya. Read more

A Little Further South Now on Facebook!

Red Coffee Cherries

 

Although I set up a Facebook page for A Little Further South some weeks ago, I just recently got around to installing “like” buttons on the site. You’ll now notice the Fb button on every page. Feel free to tell all your friends. Thanks for your support of direct market coffee!

Curibamba Coffee Workshops June 2015

 

This post is about the second in a series of workshops for the growers in the Curibamba Coffee Project held June 27-28. For more info, see below for other links.

Prologue

After our visit to FInca El Dorado (see here,) we continued on to San Ramon. The day was late, and we barely made it before dark. Exhausted after so many days of traveling & all things coffee, we check into a new hostal to see how it will be. It’s priced right, and the internet seems to work, so we may have new digs for our trips to San Ramon. (Hostal Santa Domingo – S/.40 per night about $12.63 at this time.)
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San Martín forest restored after illegal logging and coca planting

One ongoing problem in Peru is illegal mining and logging. Many once virgin rainforest areas have been devastated by clear cutting. As the forest is cut, biodiversity diminishes dramatically and is accompanied by a loss in wildlife and also results in loss of air and water quality, not just in the immediate area, but throughout the entire watershed.

Part of a sustainable future for coffee farmers is recognizing that working with nature vs clear cutting accompanied by composting residual crop waste as opposed to burning is the best way to maintain soil stability (critical on the hillsides,) and preserve nutrients over the long term.

Some areas are being restored according to this report via Peru This week:
Read more