The above terms are used in the coffee trade to describe coffees from third-world growing areas where farmers have changed from the old techniques of ” slash and burn” in order to plant coffee, and they are now planting coffee in a more environmentally-aware way, and receiving a fair farm-gate price for their crop.
Kona coffee, however, is grown in the United States and our growing methods have no need to change to be described as shade grown, bird friendly, and always fairly traded.
- Shade Grown in third-world terms, means shade trees have been planted to protect the coffee from the Equatorial sun and to increase yields with an added benefit of protecting the soil. In Kona, it happens naturally. Our coffee is grown under natural afternoon cloud cover, often interplanted with a mix of fruit, nut, and avocado trees. Many Kona Coffee orchards have been in production for 100 years or more and continue to be vigorous.
- Bird Friendly in third-world terms means that farmers have restored the forest canopy and understory as a habitat for migrating birds. In Kona, we have no migratory birds that inhabit coffee growing areas. Our Kona coffee orchards support large numbers of endemic birds which control insects and provide natural fertilizer. And no pesticides to poison them!
- Fair Trade in third-world terms means that farmers have been guaranteed a fair price for their crop. In Kona, most of our coffee is grown on family farms, 2-10 acres; we pay and treat our workers in full accordance with U.S. labor laws. Our farmers can sell their coffee to processors, or sell their green and roasted coffee directly to customers all over the world.