Our unique Community Aid program truly does make a difference in the coffee growing communities where we buy our coffee. And because Community Aid is partially supported by each product we sell throughout the country, our customers really do play a direct role in helping the people who help fill their coffee cup!
The speculative, worldwide coffee market creates boom and bust cycles that wreak havoc in the lives of coffee farmers and their surrounding communities of workers, so our company has taken a unique and compassionate approach to this problem.
Since 1994, we have been paying our coffee farmers a price no longer based entirely on the international coffee market, but rather, based on their cost of production plus a reasonable return. We were doing this before the Fair Trade certificate existed, and, in fact, we pay the farmer more than is required for the Fair Trade label. All of our coffees were crafted with a concern for people and respect for the environment. This is why we developed our "Fairly Traded" certificate.
In order to receive this higher price for their coffee, we require our farmers to treat their workers fairly and to farm sustainably and in concert with the environment. We discourage the use of chemicals and encourage maintaining the natural habitat in and around the coffee farm.
We do have an entire brand dedicated to certified organic coffee (The Organic Coffee Company), but we also encourage the many farmers that supply our San Francisco Bay and Fairwinds coffee brands to use sustainable and shade-grown farming methods whether or not their farms are actually certified organic.
But our efforts don't stop with the farmer and the environment. We strive to improve the quality of life for everyone in the coffee growing community - namely the workers and their families. Our Community Aid provides funds to build schools, day care centers, community kitchens, and medical clinics. Additionally, we provide funds for teachers' salaries, doctors' salaries, meal and nutritional programs for students, and for school attendance.
When you buy our coffee, you can be assured that not only are you getting the finest coffee available, but you are directly improving the quality of life for everyone whose lives are touched by the growing, processing, and shipping of coffee - the second largest commodity in the world (after oil). That is why we say, "Taste the Difference, Make a Difference."