I dearly love a good cup of coffee. I’m also a treehugger from way back. So put premium coffee together with a forest restoration project and, for me, it doesn’t get any better. That’s why I am supporting – and I hope you’ll consider supporting – Cloud Forest Coffee Farms’ fund-raising campaign on Indiegogo.
Years ago, the Ecuadorian government was giving away land in the Andes cloud forests to anyone who promised to clear the trees and make it “productive.” Lots of cattle ranches sprang up, but didn’t last long. The soil wasn’t suited to ranching at all and was quickly eroded. What’s left of this misguided program is lots of degraded, abandoned land near forests that support incredible biodiversity.
A New Social Enterprise
Brian Krohnke has been protecting forests and restoring damaged forest lands in Ecuador for over twenty years. He has also worked for years in the coffee business. In 2010, he saw the opportunity to put these two interests together, planting coffee in the shade of the restored forest canopy he was creating. Shade-grown coffee is often the best tasting, because the beans ripen more slowly, developing more complex flavors.
The fruit of this idea was Cloud Forest Coffee Farms, a partnership with private nature reserves that allows Brian to reforest abandoned ranch lands and plant coffee. Balancing the needs of the forest and the coffee farms requires some experimentation, but it also creates a local economy that thrives on the living forest, rather than destroying it. The evidence continues to mount that restoring forests and farmlands is one of the most effective ways to remove carbon from the atmosphere – not just reduce carbon emissions, but actually reverse them!
Cloud Forest Coffee Farms is attracting new partners. The latest, Alambi Nature Reserve, offers the opportunity to restore more land and plant more coffee. As operations reach a larger scale, new equipment is needed – not just for efficiency, but to make the farm as environmentally sustainable as possible.
An Indiegogo Fund-raiser to Make a Good Thing Even Better
Cloud Forest Coffee Farms is raising funds now on Indiegogo for a biodigestor – essentially, a large composting facility for the coffee fruit, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and capture bio-gas fuel for the operation. (Did you know that coffee farms process 5 pounds of coffee fruit pulp to produce each pound of coffee beans?)
I loved the 2015 harvest, and now you can judge the results yourself. The 2016 harvest is now available. The best way to taste it is to support Brian’s Indiegogo campaign and receive a package of coffee as a perk.
The Big Picture
Cloud Forest Coffee Farms is more than just a coffee farm. It’s a model for restoring a damaged ecosystem, creating sustainable jobs, and cultivating a thriving economy in the ashes of a environment damaged by thoughtless “development.” Our world needs this kind of model – lots of them. This is one we can support today … and get some great coffee in the bargain.
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