Saturday, February 13, 2010

Coffee Lovers Take Small Steps to Make a Big Difference

Did you see the recent article (February 1) in the Hudson Valley Business Journal - - titled "Coffee that's for the Birds"? Up to a few months ago, I had never heard of Birds & Beans coffee, or even knew what "Bird Friendly" certification meant. I had no idea that rainforests are being cleared to grow coffee.

Who knew that what coffee I drink can make such a difference to the songbirds I love to watch in my gardens and at my bird feeders every spring and summer? In fact, on warm summer mornings, I love sitting out on my deck - cup of coffee in hand - listening to the birds and enjoying the peacefulness of the morning.

Bird Friendly® coffee, I have recently learned, protects our North American songbirds. Grown on family farms, under the most stringent environmental requirements, Birds & Beans coffee is 100% shade-grown, protecting and providing 92% of the rainforest habitat. It is also 100% organic, Fair Trade and/or Rainforest Alliance. Other coffees labeled shade-grown, by the way, may contain as little as 30% shade-grown beans. Only Bird Friendly® coffee is 100% shade-grown.

As it turns out, the birds I love to watch in the spring and summer spend their winters in Latin and South America – coffee country. If they find no habitat down there, or habitat that is sub-par, they may not be able to make the 3,000 - 6,000 mile trip back up north. We have already lost about 40% of our songbird population over the last 30-40 years.

By making educated and conscientious choices, we can make a difference. We are increasingly seeing the difference that building green, recycling, using alternative energy, as well as using environmentally friendly cleaners can make. That list could go on and on. So, here's another way we can make a minor change that could make a big difference in the future.

Birds & Beans coffee can be found at Nature's Pantry in Newburgh and Fishkill, the Cornwall Community Co-op, Near & Natural Cafe in Bedford Village, Otto's Market in Germantown. Or you can order direct online at

My friend has formed a buying group. A number of us order every month and share the flat shipping charges, so shipping comes down to pennies per bag. Contact me if you're interested.

June Bisel
BBG&G Advertising
(845) 695-1880

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