A new initiative to featuring Smithsonian Bird-Friendly certified coffee is being launched next week in the New England and New York area. “Birds&Beans: the good coffee” will be sold by subscription, and promoted via “Voices for the Birds” talks by several leading names in bird conservation.
The coffees, all Smithsonian Bird-Friendly certified (and therefore also certified organic) will be available in three varieties:
- Scarlet Tanager will be the dark/bold roast from Peru, and will also be Fair Trade certified.
- Chestnut-sided Warbler will be a medium roast Colombian (also Rainforest Alliance certified).
- Wood Thrush will be the light/mild roast Mexican, also be Fair Trade certified.
The coffee will be roasted and distributed by Capitol Grounds Café and Roastery in Montpelier, VT and Wicked Joe in Brunswick, ME. The standard subscription will run $18.50 for two pounds, plus shipping and handling. Initially, orders will only be taken from customers in New England and New York; there are also plans to have it available in regional food cooperatives. The hope is to expand nationwide.
(Canadian consumers can get Smithsonian Bird-Friendly certified coffee through the Toronto cafe and roastery Birds & Beans — which has actively promoted and sold Bird-Friendly coffee in Canada for years. In fact, the roaster/owner there, David Pritchard, has licensed the Birds & Beans name to the U.S. initiative and is cooperating to help raise the profile of Bird-Friendly coffee. I have visied Birds & Beans in Toronto and can attest to David’s skill as a roaster and dedication to Bird-Friendly coffee and migratory birds.)
Three very well known bird conservationists and experts in migratory birds will be promoting Birds&Beans coffee by giving talks to educate consumers about the bird and coffee connection. “Voices for the Birds” lectures will discuss the birds that nest in New England — in particular the three species featured on the Birds&Beans packages — and the importance of shade coffee farms to their survival. Kenn Kaufman is an artist, naturalist, and the author of a number of bird books, including Kingbird Highway and the Kaufman Field Guide series. Scott Weidensaul is a prolific natural history writer often focusing on birds; his excellent book on migratory birds, Living on the Wind, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Bridget Stutchbury is a professor of biology and Canada Research Chair in Ecology and Conservation Biology at York University in Toronto. In addition to a large body of scientific work, her book Silence of the Songbirds explained threats faced by songbirds, including loss of winter habitat due to the proliferation of sun coffee. Russ Greenberg, head of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, will also be participating. A number of regional organizations will help support and promote the talks and the coffee, including Audubon Vermont, New Hampshire Audubon, Audubon Connecticut, the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, Vermont’s North Branch Nature Center, and Audubon chapters in New York.
The Birds&Beans web site (www.birdsandbeans.com) is scheduled to go live early next week. That’s where you’ll be able to find details on the coffee and subscriptions, as well as a list of events and talks. As a certification program run by a scientific research center, the Bird-Friendly certification generally lacks marketing, so this is a really positive step in raising awareness of sustainable, shade coffee in general and the strength and benefits Bird-Friendly certification in particular.
If you are in the New England/New York area, I encourage you to check out the coffee and the talks, and send me some feedback.