Rainforest Alliance

There are over 25 million farmers in the coffee growing countries of the tropics, who depend on coffee crops to support themselves and their families. There are approximately 30 million acres of land worldwide where coffee is grown and harvested. Traditional coffee farms are known for being havens for all kinds of wildlife. This is where the Rainforest Alliance comes into play.

In 1993, the Rainforest Alliance was established to help support farmers who own and maintain the eco-friendly land where their coffee is grown. The Alliance has grown over the years, and now over 1.3 percent of the coffee grown in the world is Rainforest Alliance Certified. Consumers can support the farmers who maintain this rainforest land buy looking for coffee beans that have the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal of approval.

Coffee farmers have passed down their farms for generations in producing countries. It is considered a noble tradition that is part of the culture. Coffee has supported millions of families over the years. Growing coffee however, can be a risky business. Whether it is bad weather, disease, over-supply, low prices, or rising costs, there is always the risk of losing money on the coffee crop.

As coffee farming has become more modernized over the last several decades, the supplies of coffee have increased and many of the small scale family farms have been destroyed by oversaturated markets. Others were forced to modernize to keep up, and in turn the wildlife disappeared, and erosion washed the soils away while polluting the rivers and streams with pesticides.

The Rainforest Alliance has worked with farmers to help create a middle ground. They are now helped to maintain their environmentally friendly farms, while still ensuring sustainability in the economic climate of coffee production. These protected farms are also crucial to the survival of many species of plants and animals. Biologists have spotted dozens of rare bird species, wild cats, butterflies, frogs, rare orchids, monkeys, and even a giant anteater on some of these rainforest certified farms.

The farmers who are part of the Rainforest Alliance are better able to withstand swings in the global market and also gives them access to the premium coffee markets. In the long-term these Rainforest Alliance farmers are able to control their costs, grow more efficiently, and improve the quality of their crops.