Yes! My dad's coffee forest not a coffee farm.
Shade grown coffee on my dad's farm. Photo: Pete
Regular, medium, tall, grande, venti; medium roast or dark roast; Central or South American, East African or Asian — you can make a multiple decision about your cup of coffee. Your choices may include: how is the coffee grown, whether the coffee is from organic or shade grown. Central or South American, East African or Asian — you can make multiple decisions about your cup of coffee. Your choices may include: how is the coffee grown, whether the coffee is from organic or shade grown. As a son born to a passionate coffee grower, my entire soul is like soaked with the aroma of coffee. I have always seen my father growing variety of trees on his farm. The only question I asked him all the time was, why are you growing all these trees in your coffee farm? Why not grow more coffee plants? I also remember saying him that, dad you aren’t a smart farmer nor a clever businessman. Isn’t it common sense that one should grow more coffee plants than some weird trees on your farm? And now 20 years later, I realize that my father’s dream was to grow a forest and not only coffee. He has a cool shade grown coffee farm which resembles a mini forest. Shade-grown coffee is from coffee plants grown under a canopy of trees promoting natural ecological relationships.
A clump of ripe coffee cherries. Photo: Pete
Ripe coffee cherries. Photo: Pete
Waking up in the morning is difficult and you need coffee. We drink around 600 billion cups of coffee every year and around 25 million people including my father rely on coffee to support their families. But how do we make sure all coffee grown is better for climate and the people. It all begins at the farm where farmers harvest the beans. The beans are then washed and dried, after roasting and packaging the coffee makes the way to you. All of this good goes into not only making a delicious cup of coffee but one that is good for people and the planet. People need nature and my father believed that is his responsibility to protect it and nurture it. 20 years later I see his vision being realized when his farm is sustainable, wildlife-friendly and good for the planet.
A wild Red Jungle Fowl on the coffee bush. Photo: Dr. Anand Pereira
As the saying goes behind every successful man there is a woman. My mom continuously worked hard to extend the idea to her garden as well. She built tanks and grew wildflowers, making the way to a variety of wild birds to visit our home. She not only made the home for us but built a paradise.
Lotus blooming in my mom's garden! Photo:Pete
A visiting wild bird in our garden. Photo:Pete
When I feel lost, I always plan a trip to my parents. When I get there, I fully discover myself, like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong. At end of the day, what did my parents make? It’s an agroforestry! An effective ecosystem in which trees are grown among coffee and created more diverse, productive, profitable, healthy, ecologically sound, and sustainable coffee forest! Friends, it is time to demand a better cup of coffee which is bird friendly, wildlife friendly, nature-friendly and of course planet friendly!