Last summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala with the Rainforest Alliance to understand how their certified farms impact local communities and the environment. Though I was no stranger to the Rainforest Alliance (I had long sought products like chocolate and coffee bearing the little green frog seal), I realized that I didn't truly know what was happening on local farms. It was my goal to find out.
One day, with a small group of other environmentally minded reporters, we traveled nearly five hours over rugged trails and rural, mountainous communities. The last two hours were spent navigating an incredible rocky dirt road perched on a cliff to a coffee farm certified by the Rainforest Alliance. The farm was beautiful, wet, and wild.
Accompanied by the farm owner, we hiked through a forest comprised mostly of coffee trees, but also other plants that provided shade and sturdy, diverse root systems. The farm was bursting with life: birds sung, spiders clung to dripping leaves—indicators of a healthy forest thanks to reduced chemical spraying on the land.
The farmers were passionate about their land. One farmer, a woman named Latissia Monzon Gomez,called her parcel of land "The Garden," and expressed her desire to inspire others to farm sustainably. Plus, participating in the Rainforest Alliance certification enabled her to sell coffee at a premium, which benefited her family.
Certification seals like the Rainforest Alliance cannot solve all of the world's problems. But they can sure help.
Join us for a Twitter Chat this Tuesday, September 17th at 2-3 pm EST (12-1 pm MST)to learn how you can make responsible food choices for you and your family. You'll also have the chance to win cool prize packages featuring chocolate, tea, coffee, energy bars, and the latest issue of Delicious Living magazine!