Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Shade Grown Coffee

From the Smithsonian:

"Shade-grown" refers to the way coffee has been traditionally farmed. For generations, coffee shrubs have been planted in the shade of tall trees, making these traditional coffee plantations excellent homes for birds and other forest-dwelling wildlife.

Over the past 30 years, more than half of the traditional shade-grown coffee farms in Latin America have been converted to "sun-coffee" farms to increase production. This newer method entails clearing or thinning the shade trees and growing coffee plants under full or nearly full sun conditions. These changes also demand the use of agrochemicals like synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides to counter the effects of eliminating the shaded agroforestry system.

The Smithsonian site has some interactive pages that crash Internet Explorer on my puter. Chrome works fine.

Google around and find out where you can buy bird-friendly coffee in your area. The songbirds will thank you.

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