There is no clear definition of a sustainable
farm or sustainable farming, and defintions that have been proposed are never agreed
upon by those individuals who wish to make "sustainability"
a term used to market coffee. The definition of coffee sustainability, however, is
logical. Sustainable coffee is coffee grown in a manner
that is kind to the environment and its people.
Sustainable Agriculture: Ways to Keep Coffee Farming Sustainable
A sustainable farm gives back as much to
the land and people as it receives. It seeks independence
from non-renewable resources, using renewable resources when possible. Sustainable farming also minimizes pollution, takes
steps to care for the environment, and cares for its employees.
A sustainable farm will reuse coffee husks
as heating fuel rather than cutting down eucalyptus trees.
It will plant new trees for those used during heating,
or it will implement pollution free coffee dryers such as the solar
coffee dryer developed by Coffee Kids.
Sustainable farming implements practices to minimize
water consumption and to clean the water used. Water
from the fermentation tanks should never be returned to
rivers or lakes, but rather filtered naturally through the
earth and then used for coffee irrigation. Some excellent
farms such as Agribahia in Bahia, Brazil ferment pulped
coffees without water for a short time before sending the
coffee to demucilating machines. This cuts down on
water waste while allowing them to consistently provide
some of Brazil's best coffees.
A sustainable farm will replace the natural
nutrients of the land by spreading fertilizers and organic
matter (composted coffee pulp) under the coffee trees and
between the coffee trees. This type of fertilization
has been found to increase yields over time and to produce
a more uniform and natural mineral content in the ground.
Sustainable farms will also engage in practices
such as shade growing, biodiversification, organic farming, and sustainable agriculture. In addition to seeking renewable energy resources, they will promote education programs, provide medical care for
workers, and provide decent wages and working conditions
for their employees.
Bird Safe and Shade Grown Coffee