In 2008 Scott Weidensaul, David Pritchard, Madeleine Pengelley, Bridget Stutchbury, Kenn Kaufman, Bill McGonigle, and the Wilson family launched the Birds & Beans coffee brand in the US to revitalize the Smithsonian Bird Friendly® shade-grown organic coffee certification and bring a truly 'good coffee' back into the United States. The Smithsonian Bird Friendly® certification is independently considered the best guarantee of environmentally sound, sustainably grown coffee farming. Now by simply drinking the right coffee, coffee lovers can help preserve over 100,000 acres of prime tropical habitat and biodiversity, save birds, family farms and the Earth we all share.
"To me, the top three threats to birds overall are habitat loss, habitat loss, and habitat loss," says Ken Rosenberg of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. "We're losing the battle acre by acre."
Migratory Songbirds are in alarming and increasing decline. The research points to loss of habitat and traditional coffee farms in the Americas as being a major contributor to this songbird population decline.
In June 1853, Henry David Thoreau wrote of an enchanting encounter with the Wood Thrush: "This is the only bird whose note affects me like music. It lifts and exhilarates me. It is inspiring. It changes all hours to an eternal morning." Wood Thrush populations have declined by over 50% over the past 50 years. At Birds & Beans Coffee we are striving to help make a real difference to these birds.
Coffee & Conservation
For over 100 years full and partial shade farming was the traditional method of coffee production. However the industry's boom resulted in most forests being cleared. Full-sun farms elicit a higher yield and require less management creating bigger profits for CEO's. For migratory birds and local wildlife the result of this is habitat loss. Now less than 40% of coffee farms remain in true shade and organic. The human cost is that many coffee workers must move to find work and fair wages as this increased demand for coffee has led to lowered standards.
At Birds & Beans Coffee we pay our farmers the top price for coffee so they can keep growing coffee the old-fashioned way and so they can keep supporting their workers and families.
Our customers, coffee clubs, and conservation partners are helping save the over 2,250 family farms in Latin America that we buy from. These farms, many of which have grown coffee for over 100 years, are amazing winter refuges for the neo-tropical migratory birds we all love. Bird Friendly® coffee farms are also key to anchoring viable local rural economies as well as creating healthy micro-climates rich in bio-diversity. By buying our certified Smithsonian Bird Friendly®, USDA Organic and Fair Trade coffee our supporters are helping the family farms that we buy from stay viable. Great tasting coffee too!