Why Shade Grown
Being active birders we were naturally attracted to the idea of organic, shade grown coffee. Here was a product that by it’s very nature produced an environment that supported great populations of indigenous and migratory bird life.
Most coffee grown today is produced in the “conventional” manner. This means a monoculture of just coffee bushes, open to the direct sun for maximum production. It requires intensive use of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides to combat soil depletion, unchecked insect populations and the influx of competitive plant life. This creates green deserts where bird life can no longer find food or habitat and where chemicals can damage reproductive systems. Bird populations can be reduced by as much as 95% compared to natural jungle environments.
Old fashion “traditional” coffee bushes require shade to thrive. Farmers plant their bushes in a more jungle-like environment beneath a natural canopy of trees or they can plant an over story of trees that protect the coffee bushes. These can be simply for shade or can be a whole other crop such as nut trees. It has recently be discovered that these “rustic” farms can actually improve the biodiversity of the forest plants as well as protecting bird life. When a new canopy is planted, new trees from a wider range of parent trees start growing, improving the genetic diversity of the area.