Grounds For Coffee
Our coffee blend is Rainforest Alliance Certified. The Rainforest Alliance helps to protect forests, improve the livelihoods of farmers and forest communities, promote their human rights, and help them mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis.
Coffee, one of the world’s most traded commodities, is the economic backbone of countries throughout Latin America, Asia and Africa. Yet smallholder farmers in these coffee-growing regions face many challenges, including poverty, commodity price fluctuations and increasingly erratic rainfall patterns caused by climate change. Since 1995, the Rainforest Alliance has strengthened the position of sustainable coffee farmers by training them in methods that boost yields and safeguard the health of the land for future generations. All of this is part of The Rainforest Alliance's global strategy to ensure the long-term well-being of farm communities, as well as the forests on which we all depend.
Supporting farmers and communities
The Rainforest Alliance works with sustainable coffee farmers to improve their livelihoods and the health and well-being of their communities. Coffee farms or groups of smallholder farmers that earn the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal are audited annually against a rigorous standard with detailed environmental, social and economic criteria. These criteria are designed to protect biodiversity, deliver financial benefits to farmers, and foster a culture of respect for workers and local communities. Rainforest Alliance certification also promotes decent living and working conditions for workers, gender equity and access to education for children in farm communities.
Protecting land and waterways
Decades ago, coffee farms were virtually indistinguishable from the surrounding forest. Traditional coffee-growing methods depended on the shade of the forest canopy, which supported local wildlife, migratory birds and better bean quality. In the 1970s the introduction of a new hybrid coffee plant requiring agrochemicals and full-sun exposure led many farmers to cut down their forests and abandon their traditional ways. This high-tech approach to farming has devastated lands throughout the tropics. On Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, coffee grows in harmony with nature: soils are healthy, waterways are protected, trash is reduced or recycled, wildlife thrives and migratory bird habitat flourishes. In addition, hundreds of farms we work with have adopted climate-smart agriculture techniques that sequester carbon. Most importantly, farm communities learn the importance of protecting their natural resources, and they acquire the tools and resources to do so.
Every cup of our coffee helps Grounds for Health screen women in coffee communities against cervical cancer. The mission of Grounds for Health is to reduce cervical cancer among women in developing countries, primarily in coffee growing regions.
Most health conditions in the developing world have been improving: since 1990, child and maternal mortality rates have fallen by almost half. But cervical cancer is one of the exceptions. Worldwide, an estimated 317,000 women died from cervical cancer in 2015 and this number is expected to increase to 443,000 in 2030. Over the next 15 years, six million women will die from cervical cancer, despite the fact that it can be easily prevented. Nearly 90% of these deaths will occur in low- and middle-income countries, where few of the more than 700,000 women aged 35- 49 benefit from the screening and preventive therapy services that have minimized risks in the rich world. Unlike many well-known but intractable health problems, this one could be transformed through substantial investments by an individual company or industry that wants to make a strategic impact on an issue, rather than just provide charity to a few individuals.
The relationship with coffee
The founder of Grounds For Health is a coffee entrepreneur who was shocked to learn of the prevalence of cervical cancer when visiting a coffee cooperative in Mexico in 1996. Since then, they have developed in partnership with the coffee industry because many coffee companies understand the importance of caring for the health of women, who comprise 70% of the coffee producing workforce, and many coffee producer organisations recognise the value of improving access to health care for their members and their communities. From the beginning, Grounds for Health has worked to develop services not just for the women involved in coffee production but for all the residents of the communities, districts and provinces in which coffee is produced.
How we work
Grounds for Health works in partnership with health authorities and coffee cooperatives in developing countries to train local doctors, nurses and community health promoters, and to coordinate screening and treatment services in communities most affected by cervical cancer. The countries where we have worked include Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya.
At Symonds restaurant and bistro we are proud to serve coffee certified by the Rainforest Alliance, knowing that every cup is helping towards protecting the rainforest and supporting Grounds For Health in coffee-growing countries.