Patti Spooner has been roasting coffee since 1984. Her Davenport, California company has been a pioneer in bringing pesticide-free coffee to the consumer for over 15 years.
Her slogan is "Coffee with Conscience," and here's why. After a few trips to large coffee farms in Central America, Patti's eyes were opened to the destruction that "technified coffee" or "sun coffee" practices were bringing to the workers and their families since the introduction of non-shade grown coffee. Sun coffee comes from hybridized coffee trees that can tolerate full sun with the help of fertilizers and pesticides. The yield is high but so is the environmental cost.
Patti notes, "Upon visiting the farms that were using sustainable farming practices... I realized that I couldn't support the non- organic farms, even if the profits might be higher. I had been to the 'sun coffee' farms and was alarmed at what I saw."
She looked up the word "sustain" in the American Heritage Dictionary which helped clarify to her what sustainable farming meant: Sustain: 1. To keep in existence: maintain. 2. To supply with necessities or nourishment. 3. To support the spirits or resolution of: encourage. 5. To endure or withstand... all of the above.
Not so many years ago all coffee was grown under the edge of the forest canopy or under taller agricultural trees like bananas, macadamias, almonds, citrus and avocados. These trees also provided additional income for the farmers. The taller trees provided the natural fertilization from composting leaves. Migratory birds that the trees attract helped with insect control.
Toxic pesticides and chemical fertilizers kill the micro-life in the soil and pollute the rivers and underground water reservoirs. Birds die from the poison, and the lives of farmers and their families are in jeopardy due to these unsafe living and working conditions.
It's grim, but Patti feels we can turn it around. Organic coffee farming is a ray of hope. It is a form of sustainable agriculture that provides nourishing food, protects those who work the land, helps stabilize the Earth's climate and safeguards soil and water. Her organic, fair-trade coffee provides a way for consumers to support organic agriculture and drink coffee with a good conscience.