Green Drinks and Level Ground

Level Ground TeaEarlier this week we went to a Green Drinks evening. I’ve had ‘Green Drinks’ at marked down in my daytimer several times over the past while, but somehow the schedule has been so full I haven’t made it to one yet. I had thought that this was a local thing – there are a lot of green people in this neck of the woods. Turns out, Green Drinks International is a whole movement! How could I have slept through this?

From the website:

Every month people who work in the environmental field meet up at informal sessions known as Green Drinks.We have a lively mixture of people from NGOs, academia, government and business. Come along and you’ll be made welcome. Just say, “are you green?” and we will look after you and introduce you to whoever is there. It’s a great way of catching up with people you know and also for making new contacts. Everyone invites someone else along, so there’s always a different crowd, making Green Drinks an organic, self-organising network.

This particular meeting was held at Level Ground Trading, a local success story started up by four Canadian families “for the purpose of improving the lives of disadvantaged producers through trade.” The evening started with a short, excellent talk about the company, how it started, and how it works (coffee and tea are a couple of their main products and company members travel to the small farms and farmer collectives in countries all over the world to meet the growers, sample product, and negotiate fair trade deals). After that, we all donned aprons, hairnets, and beard nets (!) and set off on a tour of the coffee roasting facility.

Dad in his beard net, a sight I never thought I'd see!

Dad in his beard net, a sight I never thought I’d see!

Our tour guide, Stacey (one of the founders), was passionate and knowledgeable about his subject, which made for a fascinating evening.

Stacey at Level Ground

Coffee Warehouse

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The sacks used to transport coffee beans are destined not for the landfill after they are empty, but for local gardens and farms where they are used as mulch and over paths between beds. Fully biodegradable, they compost and disappear completely within a year. The whole facility is garbage free (as in, they send nothing to the landfill). This was a side note in the presentation but seemed to be typical of a company that appears to be trying hard to operate ethically and sustainably.

At the end of the night we were all given something to take home. I’ve been enjoying my loose leaf black tea (from Assam, India) and some delicious dried pineapple from Santander, Colombia (SO good!).We saw some short video clips of the various farmers at work and it was fascinating to learn more about where these products come from and what goes into producing my morning cuppa…

3 responses to “Green Drinks and Level Ground

  1. I would have enjoyed that tour. Your dad looks good in his netting. Tell him I said so, from a fellow bearded one.

    Our coffee roasters here are aware of the importance of supporting the farmers and growers of their beans and teas. I don’t know a group like your Green Drinks. I will need to check into it.

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  2. Level Ground is an amazing company, and Stacey is a passionate ambassador, I’ve heard him before. They are very involved in their local community as well, providing coffee/tea to many non-profits free or at cost for events or as fundraisers. Their employees love their jobs – one person told me it feels like a family. I’ve been buying their coffee and brown sugar for years. Lucky you to get a tour.

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  3. Green drinks and Level Ground both sound amazing – both wonderful ideas backed up by hard work. What more could you ask?

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