Drinking Shade Grown Coffee is important to your health and to the eco system. As part of the Natural Solutions Foundationâ€™s International Decade of Nutrition, www.NaturalSolutionsFoundation.org, the ecologically and socially responsible production of Panamaâ€™s â€œBlack Goldâ€ is part of taking reclaiming clean, safe food for ourselves and food producers. Our extraordinary Valley of the Moon(TM) Shade Grown Coffee is an certified as a Friendly Food. That means that it is friendly to you, your health, then workers and the environment.
Part of the reason this coffee, available in sharply limited supply, is so exceptional is that it is strictly Shade Grown and chemical free.
But part of the Valley of the Moon(TM) magic comes from the fact that the coffee trees are carefully protected from the full intensity of the sun by a forest canopy of carefully tended trees producing the perfect combination of light and shade for the most exceptional coffee flavors.
Your understanding of what Shade Grown means will bring Shade Growing back to the coffee growers of the world. The only way to encourage shade grown coffee farming is to buy the product. Production follows demand, and many farmers are switching back to shade grown methods as consumer awareness increases.
Natural Solutions Foundationâ€™s Valley of the Moonâ„¢ Coffee is not only shade grown, but has been the â€œtest bedâ€ for an all exceptional natural, safe and chemical free method of protecting crops and coffee trees from the devastating fungus, â€œOjo de Galloâ€ without chemicals. Conventional fungicides poison workers, waters and consumers. Our novel system protects us all â€“ and the Natural Solutions Foundation will be manufacturing it so that coffee growers across Central America can use it, too.
Because our coffee is friendly to the environment, the workers and your health, it is the first product to be awarded Friendly Food Certification by the Natural Solutions Foundation.
What Difference Does â€œ Shade Grownâ€ Make?
Conventional, “modern” chemical-using coffee plantations are replacing wildlife habitat at an alarming rate because they require less care, less manpower and allow mass production of coffee.
As a result of the growth of industrial coffee growing, the population of songbirds across North and South America is in significant decline. “Shade grown” coffee, the traditional method of coffee farming, offers a promising alternative.
* Taste. As the coffee beans mature more slowly in the shade, natural sugars increase and enhance the flavor of the coffee. Shade grown coffee tastes better!
*Biodiversity Protection Chemicals like 2-4-D (similar to Dixoin) are used on conventional coffee farms. The result is dead soil without bacteria, worms, insects, birds, snakes, frogs or life. And you drink these chemicals when you brew your java.
* Health. Coffee is second only to tobacco in the amount of chemical treatment sprayed on it. In fact, coffee is sprayed with more chemicals than any other product consumed by humans. Workers on conventional coffee plantations are chronically ill and experience serious diseases, infertility, birth defects in their children and other major problems because of the toxic chemicals they spray on the coffee. The cultivation of Shade Grown coffee generally uses organic techniques and is free of chemical use: Valley of the Moonâ„¢ is absolutely free of chemicals. We promise.
* Environment. Shade Grown coffee requires little or no chemical fertilizer, pesticides or herbicides so it promotes a healthy environment. Valley of the Moonâ„¢ Coffee uses no synthetic chemicals of any kind. The shade trees above the coffee plants filter carbon dioxide (a cause of global warming), and aid in soil moisture retention, minimizing erosion.
*Recycling. All coffee remnants from production are used in the continuing enrichment of the soil and habitat protection for the farm. The second skin of the coffee is used as fuel to dry the beans, avoiding cutting down trees to provide that fuel.
* Habitat. Shade Grown coffee provides important bird habitat and supports greater biodiversity. Migrating bird populations have been in rapid decline since the relatively recent introduction of “sun” coffee and the consequent destruction of rainforest for more coffee plantations. Our coffee collaborators, the Hartmann Family, have had more birds identified on their Shade Grown coffee finca than on any other finca in the world: 173 species, according to the Smithsonian Institute!
* Rain forest Preservation. Shade Grown coffee plantations help sustain rain forests. Chemically dependent coffee plantations suffer from soil depletion and increased erosion. Rain forest is stripped to provide fresh growing ground. Shade coffee farms are, for the most part, organic and sustainable. Valley of the Moonâ„¢ Coffee finca is 50% shade grown coffee plantation and 50% untouched mountain rain forest. Without this tree cover, the heavy rains in the Panamanian Highlands will rapidly denude the hills of their soil cover.
* Preserves Soil Vitality. Chemical coffee farming, dependent on synthetic fertilizer, damages the micro organism web of life which makes soil viable and healthy. Shade Grown, chemical free coffee growing reverses the trend towards chemicals and dependence on them induced by the progressive death of the soil. Since the soil in a chemical coffee finca is devitalized, more chemicals must be used to keep it producing, further polluting both the coffee and the environment. Shade coffee farms traditionally use little or no chemical fertilizer. And Valley of the Moonâ„¢ uses none.
Before the advent of â€œmodernâ€ coffee varieties, all coffee was Shade Grown. Traditional coffee varieties are naturally intolerant of direct sunlight, prefering a canopy of sun-filtering shade trees to thrive. The trees not only protect the coffee from direct sun, they also mulch the soil with their fallen leaves which helps retain soil moisturel, shelter birds, insects and pollinators and offer habitat protection for a wide variety of organisms and animals. The shade trees enhance the soil, provide all-important nitrogen fixation and offer vitally needed habitat for birds. The birds in turn provide natural insect control with their constant foraging and fertilization with their droppings. This sustainable method of farming typically uses little or no chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. Valley of the Moonâ„¢ never uses any.
In 1972, new hybrid varieties of coffee (non GMO varieties) were developed to increase production of the valuable coffee crop. These new varieties produced significantly more coffee beans which were larger and easier to harvest, and produced best in direct sunlight.
Many growers cut their shade trees and switched to the new varieties. Of the 6 million acres of coffee lands, 60% have been completely stripped of shade trees since 1972. Only the small, low-tech farms, often too poor to afford chemicals, preserved their shade trees. Valley of the Moonâ„¢â€™s shade trees are visually and environmentally breathtaking.
Tragically, the new varieties of “sun” coffee carried an additional cost as well: the new hybrids were dependent on high doses of pesticides and chemical fertilizers because they were neither hardy nor naturally resistant to pests, fungus and disease. Soil erosion, water runoff and soil depletion as a result of chemical use and poor agricultural management induced producers to clear vast tracts of rain forest for new soil to plant. It rapidly became apparent that this new method of growing coffee was unsustainable.
The loss of the shade trees on such a large scale also caused an estimated 20% decline in migratory bird populations in the last ten years, due to habitat loss. The diminished songbird population is apparent as far as 1500 miles away from the coffee growing regions in North America and Europe.
In 1996, the movement to support Shade Grown coffee was sparked by the Smithsonian Institute’s Migratory Bird Center, which gathered environmentalists, farmers and coffee companies to address the problem and promote awareness of shade coffee. Today, sales of organically grown, shade coffee represent about 1%, or $30 million, of the U.S. market for coffee beans.
Cost and Selection
How do I know if my coffee is shade grown?
~ Make sure your coffee is Valley of the Moonâ„¢ Friendly Food Certified Coffee
~ Look for coffee which, like Valley of the Moonâ„¢ Coffee states on its literature, packaging or website, that it is “Shade Grown” coffee and uses no pesticides or herbicides.
~ Country of origin is an indicator. While there are exceptions, coffee produced from southern Mexico, El Salvador, Peru, Panama, Nicaragua and Guatemala are primarily shade grown. Also, coffee from Sumatra, Timor, New Guinea and Ethiopia are mostly shade grown. Coffees from Colombia, Brazil and Costa Rica are more likely to be “sun” coffees, although there are some shade producers from these regions.
Panama, the home of Valley of the Moon(TM) is one of the world’s smallest coffee producers but is recognized world-wide as the home of some of the world’s best coffees because Panamaninan Specialty Coffee Growers set their collective goal as the production of the world’s finest coffee. Valley of the Moon(TM) is proud to be part of the quality tradition of Panama.
Although Shade Grown coffee may be more expensive than pesticide-grown industrial coffee, there is far less cost to the environment and it is far less costly to your health.
Natural Solutions Foundation want to thank Eartheasy for this information on Shade Grown vs. industrial coffee.
And thank you for supporting health freedom, the International Decade of Nutrition and the Valley of the Moon(TM) Eco Demonstration Community with its farm, farm school, natural medical center, housing, community center and more. Visit us at www.NaturalSolutionsFoundation.org and visit us in person in the temperate, magnificent Highlands of Chiriqui, Panama.