Soil: Sustainability & Coffee from the Ground Up
Posted on June 15, 2012 by A Garcia
It’s the beginning of June, the rains have returned to Costa Rica and the first major event of the coffee cycle is happening: the first application of fertilizer. Thrive Farmers’ mission is to make decisions that sustain us in everything we do. We proudly promote Sustainably OrganicTM methods of growing coffee. No herbicides, no pesticides, and the sustainable and responsible use of conventional fertilizers. Why? Because it is the right thing to do.
Sustainability starts from the ground up. Building a better and more sustainable world means we need to take small, but concrete steps everyday. Changing how we use fertilizer is a decision that sustains us by following the three pillars of sustainability:
1. It is sustainable ECONOMICALLY. The use of pure organic fertilizers is cost prohibitive for the farmer and the yield is 50% less. The farmer has to pay to be certified organic. With the responsible use of conventional fertilizers, a farmer can lower costs, have a higher yield and still produce a coffee that is not harmful to our bodies nor to the environment.
2. It is sustainable ENVIRONMENTALLY. The responsible use of conventional fertilizers has very low impact on the environment, and supplemented with recycling the organic waste from the processing mill, less fertilizer is used and impact is minimized. In San Rafael this year all Thrive Farms conducted extensive soil testing to assure that we were applying exactly what we needed for each farm. The traditional application of fertilizer is a “stock” mixture that doesn’t account for the actual needs of the soil. As a result there is a lot of waste, and excessive distribution of fertilizer that has no impact on the growth of the coffee. San Rafael is going to reduce its fertilizer amounts and costs this year by 30-40% by sampling the soil, using the results and applying a fertilizer with a custom “recipe” for each farm. This is better economically for the farmer, better for the coffee, and better for the soil and the environment.
3. It is sustainable SOCIALLY. Sustainability always has a social component that is often overlooked. Many that come to origin and work in coffee communities will find that with the old system farmers very rarely communicate with each other about their business. They just do what has been done through the generations, and take the word of the traditional system without considering a better and more sustainable program. Ask any farmer and they will tell you the best “agricultural engineer” is a group of farmers getting together and sharing experiences and learning from each other. This year Thrive Farmers are learning and working together, building a community of entrepreneurs who are taking a new path of empowerment in being sustainable and growing progressively. A small, but fundamental step, is changing the way we fertilize our plants.
SO HERE IS THE QUESTION AND THE OPPORTUNITY: What can you or your business do today that will make those that you care about more ECONOMICALLY stable, positively impact the ENVIRONMENT, AND help build a closer knit COMMUNITY? We need to seek out these opportunities, make decisions that sustain us, and make a difference daily from the ground up. It means a better world for all, and from our perspective a better cup of coffee for you to drink.
Join the conversation and make decisions that will sustain us all!
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