Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Green Mountain Coffee, Jane Goodall create brew to save chimp habitat

Green Mountain Coffee is partnering up with Jane Goodall to help preserve chimp habitat with a new special coffee — Gombe Reserve.

Green Mountain Coffee and the Jane Goodall Institute unveiled Monday a new coffee — “Gombe Reserve—In Cooperation with the Jane Goodall Institute.”

The coffee is grown by members of the Kalinzi Cooperative, a group of 2,700 small-scale farmers who live near Gombe National Park in Tanzania.

The effort is not a fundraiser, company officials said. Rather, it’s a business model designed to support coffee farmers by giving them an above-market price for high-quality beans. At the same time, it hopes to raise awareness of Goodall’s work and protect chimp habitat.

The park is the site of Goodall’s groundbreaking research into chimp behavior, and the world’s longest-running field study of a wild chimpanzee group continues there today.

Social and economic pressures are closing in on the habitat, and the burgeoning human population, in its struggle to survive, has greatly deforested the land around the 32-squarre kilometer Gombe National Park. This deforestation has isolated the park, and limited the range of the chimps, and their ability to enlarge their communities.

Chimpanzees in the wild are on the brink of extinction. At the turn of the last century, about 1 million chimpanzees lived in 25 countries across western and central Africa. Today, their number has dwindled to perhaps fewer than 200,000, with significant populations found in only four countries.

Because coffee beans thrive under the shade of a forest canopy, they grow in harmony with chimps. Coffee farming gives farmers an incentive to preserve the forest, and a chance at economic stability.

"Our effort to involve local citizens in restoring the forests and practicing sustainable agriculture is the most important work we can do to ensure a future for the Gombe chimpanzees and the people of Africa," said Goodall in a statement.

The coffee has a floral top notes and vibrant flavors of tropical fruit, according to Lindsey Bolger, director of coffee sourcing and relationships for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

“Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has always had a values-driven approach to coffee, believing that coffee can help the greater good. We’re thrilled to work with the Jane Goodall Institute to bring this great coffee to market and, ultimately, protect the chimps,” Bolger said.

The coffee will be available for a limited time on Green Mountain's website.

Story here.

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