What’s the Point of Organic Coffee?

What’s the point of organic coffee when you can walk into Starbucks and buy a good tasting cup of coffee or you can buy Folgers at the store and save money? What are the benefits of organic coffee over the regular stuff? First of all you do not lose any of the health benefits of coffee when you drink health organic coffee. You get the same reduction of the incidence of type II diabetes, various kinds of cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and depression/suicide by drinking organic coffee as opposed to regular. The point is that organic coffee production is sustainable and better for the earth.

Sustainable Organic Farming

Not long ago we posed the question, what does sustainable mean?

Alternet writes about how we should stop using the term sustainable and instead use regenerative or degenerative. They suggest a regeneration revolution.

With the "sustainability" label co-opted by Big Food, it’s time to re-frame agriculture into two categories: regenerative and degenerative.

Last week, PoliticoPro reported that the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture wants “farmers and agricultural interests to come up with a single definition of sustainability in order to avoid confusing the public with various meanings of the term in food and production methods.”

We agree with Secretary Tom Vilsack that the word “sustainability” is meaningless to consumers and the public. It’s overused, misused and it has been shamelessly co-opted by corporations for the purpose of greenwashing.

Their argument is that at best sustainable practices maintain the status quo and at worst the term is used as an outright lie. Their proposal is that people should be able to choose food that is produced using organic regenerative practices based on sound ecological principles that rejuvenate the soil, grasslands and forests; replenish water; promote food sovereignty; and restore public health and prosperity – all while cooling the planet by drawing down billions of tons of excess carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in the soil where it belongs.

The point or organic coffee is to repair the earth and not just slow its destruction. Human kind has been farming for thousands of years but industrial scale agriculture is only decades old.

Agriculture at the Crossroads

The evolution of industrial scale farming has driven many small farmers out of business and taken over their lands. However, there is a valid argument to be made for small farmers on small plots of land which is almost always the situation with organic production. Global Agriculture writes about industrial agriculture and small scale farming.

One third of the economically active population obtains its livelihood from agriculture. In Asia and Africa, millions of small-scale and subsistence farmers, pastoralists, fishermen and indigenous peoples produce most of the food consumed worldwide, in most cases on very small plots of land. Over the past decades, agricultural policy and international institutions, as well as private and public agricultural research have often considered small-scale and subsistence farmers as backward “phase-out models” of a pre-industrial form of production. The widely held belief was that only large economic units were capable of achieving increases in productivity on a competitive basis through modern and rationalised cultivation methods, mainly with chemical inputs and the use of machinery.

An alternative view is that industrialized agriculture leads to an agricultural treadmill that crowds out small farmers to the detriment of the land. The fact of the matter is that farms of less than 2.5 acres account for 72% of all farms. These are farms whose owners have a vested interest in preserving the quality of the land. The point of organic farming is that small farmers pass their land on from generation to generation and take better care of it.

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