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Posts Tagged ‘Nabob coffee’

grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Photo: Seabrooke Leckie)

It’s the time of year when many of the birds we have enjoyed all summer, ‘our’ birds, make their long, perilous journey south, completing one of the most amazing feats of the natural world. Many of those birds will spend their winter on coffee plantations.

A native of Ethiopia, coffee was introduced to Brazil by the mid-1700s, and coffee plantations today cover an estimated 7 million acres in the northern Neotropics from Columbia and Brazil to Mexico. Traditionally, coffee has thrived in shaded woodlands, but in order to produce crops more quickly, sun-tolerant coffee plants were developed.

Full-sun farming requires the removal of the forest and replaces it with a virtual biological desert. Without the forest birds to eat insects, and decaying materials to feed the plants, sun-grown coffee requires the heavy use of pesticides and fertilizers. At least half of the coffee grown in the Neotropics has been converted to full sun.

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Buying shade-grown coffee is probably the most important thing you can do to help save the rainforest and protect migratory birds. These days, shade-grown coffee is widely available in supermarkets and specialty stores. Sometimes you have to read the label carefully to verify that the coffee is shade-grown.

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Too expensive? Don’t drink that much coffee? Here’s an easy alternative: Look for Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee. Nabob is a product of Kraft Foods, one of a few corporate giants that control 40 to 60% of the coffee market. According to the label, Nabob is currently more than 60% Rainforest Alliance Certified and working towards 100% certification.

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Look for the Rainforest Alliance Frog

Still drinking instant??? Most instant coffee is made from the poorest, sun-grown beans. If you purchase an inexpensive one-cup or small-pot coffeemaker, brewing the real thing is very fast. You can enjoy a better cup of coffee and help the birds with a minimum effort. Wake up and smell the coffee! The birds will thank you.

For more information about shade-grown coffee, see my Shade the Coffee, Shelter the Birds post. For plenty of information on many aspects of coffee and habitat, visit the site linked here: Coffee and Conservation.

ovenbird

Ovenbird (Photo: Seabrooke Leckie)

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organicbananas

Looking at the bananas in the grocery store, I have wondered if organic bananas are worth the extra few cents they cost. After all, you peel the skin off the banana, right? What difference does it make? The answer is it makes a lot of difference. It matters to the birds that use the banana grove and to the workers who have to spend time applying and living with the pesticides. In Costa Rica, banana plantations typically apply forty-five kilograms of active ingredients of pesticides per hectare.

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It is now approaching half a century since Rachel Carson’s landmark book, Silent Spring, was published in September of 1962. At one time, DDT was a household chemical. It was advertised in national magazines as just the thing for the happy wife. Carson’s book spearheaded a movement that eventually led to the banning of DDT in North America, yet DDT, a fat-soluable pesticide lives on in the food chain. Testing has found that its breakdown product, DDE, is found in the blood-stream of nearly everyone across North America, years after DDT was banned.

The types of pesticides used have changed since DDT, but we are using more pesticides than ever. Birds are in as much danger today as in the 1950s because modern pesticides are more lethal. Many pesticides that are acutely toxic to birds, such as chlorpyrifos and diazinon, are used widely on vegetable and fruit crops in the United States and Canada.

Pesticide use is even heavier in Central and South American countries. Pesticides that are regulated or banned in the U.S. may still be used and farmers often don’t have sufficient training to apply pesticides safely. Pesticide use is heavy because farmers spray pesticides according to a regular schedule, rather than as needed to treat a specific problem.

organiccelery

The top five crops in the United States that pose the greatest risk for pesticide poisoning of songbirds at the local level are Brussel sprouts, celery, cranberries, cabbage and potatoes. You can help to reduce the use of pesticides that threaten birds by purchasing organic produce at your grocery store. It’s better for you and your family, and its much better for birds and other wildlife.

If you feel that shade-grown coffee, which does come with a premium price tag, it too much for your budget, consider buying organic, fair trade coffee as the next best choice. Nabob brand coffee is working with the Rainforest Alliance to produce sustainable coffee and is a good choice for consumers looking to make a difference with their coffee dollars. Look for Nabob Rainforest Alliance certified cans.

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