How Sustainable is Your Cup of Coffee

How Sustainable is Your Cup of Coffee

Jessica Larson

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The Long Miles Project focuses on solving the problem of sustainability for farmers and the environment by answering the question, what can one person/family do to help lift coffee farmers in a war torn nation out of poverty-  with a resounding ALOT.  Over the last decade the Carlsons, founders of the Long Miles Project, have provided an ever growing number of farmers, including women, with a sustainable living.  They started this by taking one simple action, paying farmers a fair price for their coffee.  Subsequent steps of making washing stations available, education on agricultural practices and consistency, as well as environmental preservation came after.   Reading about this all encompassing mission of producing coffee with all of the stakeholders (including the environment) being equally represented, truly makes my head spin.


If you are reading this, it is likely that you are already aware of why it is important to know where your coffee comes from.  Human rights violations, deforestation to name two big ones.  To view this narrative flipped on its head is proof that it can be done well and consistently.

 The coffee we have purchased from the Long Miles Project has grown to mean so much more to me than tasting notes- which are distinct- and delicious, but it has come to mean that we are part of something bigger and more meaningful.

 It also worth noting that even with paying the farmers a fair price, we are still able as a very small roaster to purchase and offer the coffee at a very reasonable price- more reasonable than many of our other varieties- again proves the mission to create sustainable practices in the world of coffee is possible and even profitable for everyone in the production process.


What fills our cup,

Everyday there are 450 million cups of coffee consumed in America, just America.  Count me in for three of those.  Until my husband Ben began roasting in an air popper in our gazebo, I have to admit, I hadn’t given the origins of my coffee a ton of thought.  I do tend to shop by key words, organic, fair trade, etc., but I had never really peeled back the layers behind that advertising. The reality is that the biggest issue facing all coffee producers is climate change.  Soil erosion, loss of biodiversity are symptoms of the larger looming issue- irregular weather patterns due to climate change.  

This begs the question, what can one person/family do? ALOT. Maybe not on the scale of the Long Miles Project and the Carlsons, but with each cup of coffee you can choose to support or deny sustainability for all of the stakeholders, including the environment. 

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