How Organic Coffee is Revolutionizing Coffee Farming

Austin Baines is a writer for Cubico Coffee, which ethically sources several varieties of organic coffee and lets customers create their own unique custom coffee blends online.

Organic coffee is growing increasingly popular in the US and all over the world, because it tastes better and it’s better for you, but what about the effects that organic farming is having on the coffee industry itself?

Let’s take a look at how the organic movement has impacted the coffee industry, and is actually working to grow fair trade practices and improve working conditions for coffee growers all over the world.

Organic Coffee Requires Oversight
In order to show that their coffee is actually organic, the exploding number of small coffee roasters need to ensure that the coffee they’re buying was produced in a pesticide-free environment, and that almost always means making direct contact with coffee growers.

While that doesn’t sound that revolutionary on paper, this has had a massive effect on the coffee industry as a whole. Big coffee importers can’t trace each coffee bean to it’s exact origin beyond perhaps it’s general region, and they certainly can’t afford to carefully monitor the farming practices of each small grower

It Disengages Coffee From Mass Exporters
Coffee is one of the most important commodities on the international market, which makes it highly competitive, and historically exploitative. In past centuries coffee was grown by indentured servants and slaves, and modern working conditions haven’t been significantly better until recently.

With demand for their products waning and organic quality control out of their reach if they want to keep prices down, mass coffee export/import businesses are losing their ability to control the coffee supply. The most obvious difference is that growers (with exception to kona, blue mountain, and a few other very famous coffees) are no longer forced to sell their product to mass exporters for a tiny fraction of its value (usually 30 to 50 cents per pound), because they’re increasingly getting access to small roasters who are prepared to pay significantly more for traceable high-quality coffee.

It Improves Worker Health
Using harmful chemicals and pesticides in farming has adverse effects on the health of the people who have to interact with these products every day. While most of these chemicals never reach the end consumer since they degrade or are destroyed during processing and roasting, their effects on farmers was rarely considered, and even more rarely acknowledged.

Organic farming practices allow coffee farmers to work in a safer, chemical-free environment, while also improving their incomes and improving their global business connections.

Pennsylvania Farm-To-Table

Savor Gettysburg Food Tours has partnered with Beech Springs Farm to offer a complete organic Farm-To-Table food experience for visitors and locals alike. We are also partnering with local farms and distinguished chefs for these unique events which are designed to support our efforts to expand the availability of fresh, local and sustainably-grown food in Adams County, PA. Each event will be unique and feature locally-grown foods that are fresh and available at the time.

Three dates have been selected in 2015 for our unique dinner series which include live entertainment along with local wine,cider and beer pairings. Our first dinner series event will be held on Sunday, May 24, 2015 at Beech Springs Farm in Orrtanna, PA. Beech Springs Farm is a small family farm located near Gettysburg, PA. The farm produces heirloom varieties of Certified Naturally Grown vegetables, herbs and flowers available through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Space is limited. Tickets can be purchased at

4 Snack Alternatives To Stay Healthy

It’s hard to get through the day without snacking. It can be a long time between meals, and sometimes you need a little something to hold you over. Instead of reaching for junk food, here’s a list of alternatives that should keep you looking good, and more importantly, feeling good.

Kale Chips

kale chipsPotato chips seem to be the first thing we reach for, when on the couch looking for a quick snack. I like a good chip as much as the next guy, but I don’t like how I feel shortly after scarfing down half a bag. What if we can have a healthy alternative, where we don’t have to worry about how much is shoved in our mouths, ready in about 25 mins? Enter kale chips. It may take a few times to get right, but you can get a great flavor with a fantastic crunch, where the whole kale chip just crumbles in your mouth. Here’s a good kale chip recipe to use, although I personally do without the salt.



Beet Chips

beet chipsMaybe you tried the kale chips and want something more chip like. Something with more substance. Well look no further my friend (we’re friends, right?), than the beet chip. Cooking times can vary here, depending on how thick or thin you slice them. Once you get it right, this is definitely closer to a chip, and much healthier for you. Here’s a recipe to get you started.



Cauliflower Rice

cauliflower riceOk ok, no more chips. Let’s talk rice. White rice doesn’t have much of a flavor, but it has a great consistency, and fills you up. Though it is a grain, and is also processed to help us digest, which removes nutrients, so we probably want to find a good alternative. Well open that veggie drawer and pull out that head of cauliflower you keep putting off eating! Follow the instructions for a cauliflower rice recipe here. Cauliflower rice tastes better than white rice, and is more nutritional to boot.



Paleo Ice Cream

paleo ice creamIce cream is one of the harder snacks to avoid. Especially as we get into the hot summer months. Don’t you wish you could have ice cream without the lactose? You can with paleo ice cream! There are many paleo ice cream recipes online to choose from. The trick is to use almond milk or coconut milk (or both!) in place of cow’s milk. If you’re anything like me, a couple scoops of paleo ice cream won’t have you running to the bathroom shortly after.

Organic Farming

photo by seancookandthehmc

Organic farming is a method of agriculture that, rather than using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, uses more natural means, such as crop rotation, biological pest control techniques, and compost, to produce its crops. According to the USDA, the term organic refers to “food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.” The following are some things to keep in mind if you plan to begin organic growing.

Know Your Purpose for Going Organic

One of the first things you should consider before moving forward is why you want to grow organic. The reason for this is simple: If you simply want to grow yourself some healthier food, then the requirements will be much less strict than if you want to, say, start a farm as a business. Just one example of one such requirement would be the duration of time that land has to be chemical-free before being able to sell your organic crops.

If you do plan to start this type of business, then you should become very familiar with all applicable standards and regulations. Some additional information for this can be found at

Know What You Want to Grow

Knowing what you want to grow is another important question to ask yourself. One reason why this is important is for proper nutrition. Knowing what you want to grow will give you valuable insight into what types of nutrients you should be including in the soil to help your crops grow properly.

Another reason is pest control. One particular technique that organic growers use to limit pests without using pesticides is called companion planting. Companion planting refers to planting other crops that are beneficial to each other.

Companion planting works in a number of ways. First, it can bring other animal and insect life that help crop growth, such as attracting bees that aid in pollination.
Second, it can help attract other animal life that will eat or otherwise ward off pests.

Improving the Soil Quality

Since organic growing strictly prohibits the use of synthetic fertilizers, you will need to rely on other methods of naturally improving the quality of your soil, such as learning how to make your own liquid fertilizer, how to make your own mulch, and how to make your own compost.

Keeping a Crop Journal

Keeping a journal is another important consideration. Just as you if you were a professional weightlifter, keeping track of nutrition, exercises, and progress optimize the benefits, keeping a journal for your crops is equally important.

In the log, you should keep track of things like the types of plants that were grown, the weather, the types of mulch used, and any other relevant data. This type of journal will prove useful because it allows you to see what you did from one growing season to the next, shows you what worked and what didn’t, and offers insight into what you can do better the next season.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!

Fresh Air

What’s not to love about fresh air? When you take deep breaths, it makes you feel more energized. More alive. So why not try to be around it as much as possible? Why not try to grow it?

There’s a great TED talk, where Kamal Meattle touches on growing fresh air at home, using a few different plants.

I think we sometimes forget how important plants are to daily life. Look around the homes and offices you visit, and you may see how scarce plant life is. This can be easily rectified! Let’s take a look at the 3 plants mentioned in the talk.

Areca Palm

The Areca Palm is a great indoor plant, that can be used to convert CO2 to oxygen. It requires a lot of watering, but also releases a lot of moisture into the air, which makes for a great natural humidifier. Mr. Meattle recommends 4 shoulder-high plants per person.

Money Plant

The money plant is a great toxin remover. It handles removing indoor pollutants like formaldehyde, xylene, and benzene. Works well in the office, with artificial light, but is toxic to cats & dogs. If you’re a pet owner, you’ll want to keep out of reach.

Snake Plant

The Snake Plant takes over while you’re sleeping, absorbing toxins and converting CO2 to oxygen at night. It does not need a lot of light or watering, which is good cause who can sleep through that? Goes great in the bedroom or bathroom.

These are just a few plants that could get you started, building your indoor jungle, but there are plenty more beneficial plants. Take a look at this list of air-filtering plants that NASA compiled. You’ll want to note the toxicity warnings though, or you could be doing more harm then good! If you’re looking for more information on plants and growing fresh air, check out the great book by B.C. Wolverton, How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 House Plants that Purify Your Home or Office.