In Florida, Golden Valley Farms (roaster) and Florida Turnpike Services have joined forces to offer “Bird Friendly” coffee at stops along the turnpike for the 312 mile toll road segments running from Wildwood south to Miami. Sales from this coffee support refuge for tropical migratory birds in coffee farms of Latin America, with shade certified as “Bird Friendly,” while local Floridians and other turnpike travelers can savor the coffee from these farms.
The addition of “Bird Friendly” coffee at the 24-hour Service Plaza Fuel Facility sites fits well with other elements of the Florida Turnpike’s earth friendly philosophy, which includes new buildings certified as LEED silver level, an educational area for renewable resources, and the addition of E85 ethanol fuel at all sites. Florida Turnpike Services wish to promote conservation through the “Bird Friendly” coffee program.
According to Kim Winklhofer (Examiner.com), the criteria for qualification for Bird Friendly coffee farms are stricter than those for “sustainable coffee,” certified by the Rainforest Alliance. “They include: an organic certification, a minimum 12’ canopy height, 10 or more woody species, 3 layers of foliage, and at least 40% foliage cover, among other things. In fact, Bird Friendly is the only triple certified coffee choice–organic, fair trade, and shade grown.” In terms of providing protection for birds, the premise is fairly simple: many more species of birds can live on shade coffee farms than on sun-coffee farms. Winklhofer writes, “One study conducted in Mexico found over 140 species of birds in shade coffee farms while sun-coffee farms contained only 5-6 species.” As Grounds for Change states, “the increased yields of full-sun coffee come at the expense of the environment, the flavor of the coffee itself and of migratory bird populations, which have been decimated in the last 25 years.”