Sun Grown Coffee Exposed

John Rufino | photo by Jim Ross (from the Toronto Star article linked to below)

Knelman: How a book tour turned into a crusade for birds – thestar.com. by Martin Knelman

an excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

** How can a book tour turn into a marathon environmental crusade stretching all the way from Edinburgh to Vancouver, with many points in between, including London’s Trafalgar Square, New York’s Central Park, Walden Pond and Kingston, Ont.?

Well, [Margaret] Atwood and her partner, Graeme Gibson, are not only dedicated bird-watchers but political activists and joint presidents of the Rare Bird Club. When colleagues in the world of bird protectors asked how they could reach beyond their inner circle to achieve greater public awareness, Atwood had a simple answer: “You have to do it through the arts.”

They didn’t know how. Atwood decided to show them.

Using her celebrity status to promote her cause, she developed a travelling act focusing on the need to save birds (and by extension humans) while encouraging protest against environmental crimes — such as cutting down trees so coffee beans can get more sun. **

Well, Thank you Margaret Atwood for your efforts to promote more ethical and sensible shade grown coffee practices and for educating people about that. And thank you Martin Knelman for writing about activist Atwood’s efforts.

An exception to the rule about polluting coffee roasting would be John Rufino, who’s amazing stainless steel roaster (I have yet to see it in person) deals with the smoke and vapors given off during roasting by circulating those and using them somehow in the process itself. His motivation was economical rather than environmental, but all the same.

See the June, 2009 Toronto Star article titled “The Accidental Ecologist,” by Pamela Cuthbert.

an excerpt from that article follows:

** The coffee sector is by nature a long-distance one. Worse, it’s generally associated with issues as black as a shot of dark-roast espresso, such as deforestation, pesticide-related pollution and poor labour practices. Little wonder the organizers of the Fair Trade certification chose it as their first product to target.

But whereas fair trade and organic labels are occupied with the growing and harvesting of the bean, Rufino’s work focuses on the other end of the process: the roasting or finishing step of the raw material before it’s ready to grind. **

My online response to the above linked-to article about John Rufino follows:

** Air Or Drum? I’m impressed with John Ruffino’s operation and ethics. I wish activists like Margaret Atwood and David Suzuki were also. No, They don’t have any issues with Ruffino’s operation. I don’t even know whether they are aware of it. I just hope that they do know about it or learn about it if they don’t and then, along with spreading the word about sun vs shade grown coffee, they also mentioned the great example John sets of roasting cleanly. / I’m used to thinking in terms of air or drum roasted. Is this a type of drum roasting or something entirely different? **

Now we just have to get people to be aware of the extremely polluting process of coffee roasting as done by, to my knowledge, most roasters. And I suppose we may need to put the bug in the ears of activists’ who are talking about ethical and sustainable coffee growing. However, Will Atwood, who is affiliated with a coffee company (Balzac’s) and the roaster (Mountain View) who Balzac’s gets some of it’s coffee from, be willing to say good, necessary, things about a competitor of her associates?

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