Three ways sustainable

Coffee, the finest organic suspension ever devised. — Kathryn Janeway, Star Trek, Voyager Star date 51501.4

If you’re not a Trekkie, you wouldn’t know that Captain Janeway so loves coffee she wouldn’t travel a single light year without at least four cups to steady her nerves before entering warp drive. Hopefully future starship captains will enjoy what PCC Natural Markets shoppers can today … coffee that is both delicious and three ways sustainable — fairly traded, organic and shade grown.

All coffee — bulk, bagged or brewed — at PCC meets the criteria of being Fair Trade Certified™, grown organically, and sourced from coffee plants grown under a canopy of trees.

“Fair Trade Certified™” means that the welfare of coffee producers and their families, and protection of their environment, have priority. To make certain, the conditions under which the coffee is produced undergoes the scrutiny of TransfairUSA, an independent, third party certifier. Certification criteria includes a living wage for workers, sustainable agricultural methods, healthy and cooperative work sites, and educational opportunities for worker families.

To be labeled organic in the U.S., coffee must be grown following practices that avoid use of toxic fertilizers and pesticides, support biological diversity and maintain soil quality, and be certified by a USDA accredited agency. “Shade grown” refers to coffee grown under a tree canopy where little or no deforestation — a practice that thins out trees to make room for more coffee plants and to increase production and results in the destruction of bird habitat — has taken place.

Sustainable beans, locally roasted

PCC proudly offers coffee from local roasters who are committed to satisfying consumer demand for superior quality and taste, and who have genuine concern for the people and environments that produce each bean. Coffee from Tony’s Coffee & Teas, a PCC supplier since 1998, is roasted in Bellingham, Wash., brewed in all PCC delis, and is available in bulk. Recently introduced Nature’s Crest varieties from Fidalgo Bay Coffee are roasted in Burlington, Wash., and are also in PCC’s bulk coffee section, together with varieties from Seattle-based Kalani Coffee & Teas. PCC’s other bulk coffee supplier, Equal Exchange, recently converted half of the varieties that PCC buys to local roasting, and will soon be roasting all of PCC varieties locally.

Alignment with PCC’s sustainable values by these coffee suppliers goes beyond responsible sourcing. As a Leadership Partner with Puget Sound Energy’s Green Power Program, Tony’s Coffee uses renewable energy to roast its coffee. Fidalgo Bay operates a paperless office, offers free composting with every delivery, and even provides compostable bags to their coffee customers to make storage and pickup easier. Kalani gives back by donating a one percent One World Tax to selected organizations, and employee-owned Equal Exchange pioneered fair labor practices with small coffee producers 18 years ago, long before the concept of fair trade took hold in the U.S.

Drinking responsibly

It makes sense to enjoy three-ways sustainable coffee in an environmentally responsible cup. When buying brewed coffee at PCC, coffee drinkers can do their part to reduce disposable waste by bringing their own coffee cups or mugs and be rewarded five cents for each. The same incentive applies to coffee bags, shopping bags and egg cartons. Shoppers can keep the savings or donate to the PCC Food Bank Program or the PCC Farmland Trust.

PCC sells attractive coffee mugs for home and travel, but when disposables cups are needed by PCC deli customers, they are given plastic-lined paper cups destined for the trash can. Compostable disposables are being sought, but only cups lined with corn-based PLA (polyactic acid, which is difficult to verify as GMO-free), are currently available.

For a great cup of sustainable coffee, visit any PCC location … and don’t forget to bring your coffee cup or bag.

More about: coffee, Fair Trade, PCC Farmland Trust, PCC Food Bank Program, sustainability

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