We support organic coffee agriculture by buying most of our green coffees from organic certified producers. Why not 100%? Our aim is to showcase the best coffees from around the world and for some smaller producers it is not economically viable to hold organic certification. We also want to support quality-focused producers who have sustainable agricultural practices that are in line with our vision and standards.
We believe that organic coffee agriculture is one of the best available systems of farming as it is based on a holistic approach to sustainability and has many benefits including the following:
Discourages environmental exposure to pesticides and chemicals
Pretty simple. The rules are slightly different according to each certifying body but the Soil Association, for instance, permits organic farmers to use just 20 pesticides, derived from natural ingredients including citronella and clove oil, but only under very restricted circumstances.
Builds healthy soil
Soil which is cultivated naturally by several organic practices like composting, green manure, symbiotic associations and less tillage usage is more productive and fertile. Soil treated with organic fertilisers hosts billions of useful bacteria from around fifteen thousand species. These useful bacteria and fungi break down chemicals, plant residues, and livestock wastes into useful soil nutrients that improve soil binding and structural characteristics, thereby delivering more stable systems. By feeding the soil rather than the plants we can ensure that the crops are exposed to a wider variety of nutrients than those supplied by chemical fertilisers which consist of mainly nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Helps combat erosion
The most effective way to prevent erosion is to protect soil from rain and wind by covering it with plants and/or decaying organic matter. Organic systems minimise soil disturbance and leave “crop residue” (plant parts that remain after harvest) covering the soil. This organic matter helps to improve the health and structure of the soil making it less vulnerable to erosion and also more capable of storing water.
Reduces CO2 emissions
Did you know that soil can store carbon? Healthy soils act as a carbon sink by drawing carbon down into the soil to store it. Many management practices used by organic agriculture increase the return of carbon to the soil, raising productivity and favouring carbon storage. It is not just carbon; healthy soil can also help reduce emissions of methane and nitrous oxide, two other harmful gases contributing to climate change.
Supports water conservation and water health
Having healthy soil, with more organic matter, can improve water quality through filtering out pollutants. Soil rich in organic matter contains good moisture and improves water retention and acts like a sponge that keeps plants moisturised. Not only does this help to prevent flooding, but storing more water ensures crops have a longer life when a drought kicks in.
Discourages algae blooms
An algal bloom is a rapid increase or accumulation in the population of algae in freshwater or marine water systems. Harmful algal blooms pollute the eco-system and can lead to fish dying off. Algal blooms are caused by runoff from farms where conventional fertilisers rich in nitrogen and phosphorus are used. A nutrient-rich soil is complete and contains earthworms and nematodes which result in increased soil density and reduced sandiness thereby causing less runoff. Organic farming also boosts bacteria named rhizobia that help plants fix nitrogen and help utilise and convert these nutrients before they get an opportunity to run-off.
Supports animal welfare
As well as requiring that animals are genuinely free range, the Soil Association's organic standards cover living conditions, food quality, the use of antibiotics, as well as transport and slaughter. These standards mean that animals raised organically enjoy the very highest welfare standards of farmed animals.
Organic coffee farming increases biodiversity at every level of the food chain, from bacteria all the way to mammals. The level of biodiversity that can be yielded from organic farming is beneficial to the whole ecosystem. Species found in most organic farms provide a means of agricultural sustainability by reducing the amount of human input necessary, particularly fertilisers and pesticides.
By the Kiss the Hippo Team