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November 22, 2017  |  Login
Shade Grown
The term shade grown describes a technique for coffee farming. Shade-grown coffee is grown in its natural environment among diverse plant species and under the cover of trees, as opposed to sun-grown coffee, which is planted alone in open fields. The development of pesticides and fertilizers that allow coffee farmers to plant dense, high-yield coffee trees in open sunlight has led to increased coffee production around the world. But the deforestation associated with sun growing has led to increased erosion and chemical runoff in dry, tired soil, as well as destroyed the habitats of many indigenous and migratory birds.

Look for Smithsonian and Rainforest Alliance certification labels on your coffee. Also, try to be conscious of the country of origin—certain places, like Brazil and Vietnam, tend more towards sun-grown coffee. Certified shade-grown coffee, like fair trade coffee, is likely to be a bit more expensive than conventional coffee due to the higher production costs and certification costs. Shade-grown coffee, however, promotes sustainability where it is grown, and helps small coffee growers by supporting their craft.

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