Millions of Americans consume coffee each day, never thinking that there is an environmental dimension to its production. Some coffee is being grown on farms that double as habitats for overwintering migratory songbirds. In fact, scientists at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC) have developed the only 100% organic shadegrown certification through the Bird Friendly® seal of approval to encourage the growth of this kind of agriculture. A certified coffee farm has a forest-like sanctuary for migratory birds who live in the canopy of trees. Coffee shrubs are planted and grow beneath the canopy. These shade-coffee farms are often sited where there were high rates of deforestation, making them all the more vital as refuges for biodiversity.
Is shade coffee worth it? Today, as Robert Rice, a research scientist at the SMBC and head of the Bird Friendly program, and Andy Sprenger, head roaster at Ceremony Coffee Roasters, discuss what’s being done to support shade-coffee habitats, try a cup and find out why the proof is definitely in the pouring.
Click here, to learn more about shade-grown coffee plantations and their role in the conservation of migratory birds.
See a slide show that will introduce you to the key concepts of "Bird Friendly" coffee production and Neotropical bird conservation in Latin America and the Caribbean.