The Goats That Saved the Gorillas
The grateful coffee farmers of the Urth Caffé Mountain Gorilla Coffee Estate in the Virunga Mountains of Uganda just received the much needed gift of 30 goats to help with their courageous stewardship of the land and preservation of the last remaining Mountain Gorillas' habitat.
This was made possible through collections and donations from Urth Caffé Japan and Urth Caffé Southern California.
Both male goats and female goats will be so welcome at the farms where they will not only be bred but also provide the following to the dedicated coffee farmers and their families:
- The dairy produced will be used to nurture and feed the coffee farmers and their families and will become a secondary source of income for the family selling cheese and milk.
- Their manure makes the richest, all natural, most fabulous organic soil fertilizer.
- The goats are great "gardeners" by removing (eating) all of the unwanted weeds on the coffee farm. Goats are the ultimate partners and friends to coffee farmers for sustainability and quality on an organic coffee farm.
Forty coffee farms make up the Urth Caffé Mountain Gorilla Estate located in the Virunga Mountain Range of Southwestern Uganda. This organic coffee estate was created exclusively for Urth Caffé in 2004.These farms are located 9,000 feet above sea level where the volcanic rocks and soil make one of the most fertile spots on Earth, where pure heirloom bourbon coffee trees are grown at the highest altitude to produce remarkably rich coffees.
Above the volcanic slopes lives the world's most endangered ape, The Mountain Gorilla. These gentle creatures have never survived captivity to date and have been the victims of massive poaching. Today's Mountain Gorillas population is estimated to be about 900 individuals.
Estate farmers planted, for Urth exclusively, bourbon heirloom coffee trees in the black volcanic soil to produce some of the very best coffee. By generating income through growing heirloom, organic coffee with sustainable agriculture, these small holder farming communities can be supported while protecting the habitat for the Mountain Gorillas.
That fine coffee had never been exported out of Uganda before and is exclusively available at Urth Caffé. Mountain Gorilla Coffee is perhaps the highest grown coffee in the world, and one of the richest, most aromatic coffees with a brisk, herbal flavor, vanilla notes and a floral aroma.
Coffee farmers are on the front lines of protecting
Mountain Gorillas and the environment
Urth Caffé heirloom, organic coffee farmers are on the front lines preserving some of the densest tropical jungles in the top coffee-producing countries. They are protecting the habitat for birds, endangered primates, and other species for future generations all while providing a better life for their families and producing the finest, and healthiest coffee in the world.
Mountain Gorilla Organic Coffee Estate farmers utilize best organic practices such as making rich organic compost for fertilizer, planting fruit trees and indigenous trees for the necessary, natural shade to protect the habitat of the Mountain Gorillas and allow the heirloom coffee trees to ripen more slowly to the sweetest and most aromatic coffee.
Urth Caffé invests in solar panel systems, rainwater collection systems, livestock, and other tools in the farming villages we visit. We want to know that the passion and hard work that goes into growing Urth coffees will result in better living conditions and fair wages.
Top left: Shallom Berkman discusses Urth Caffé's heirloom, organic coffee standards, as well as the best organic practices such as making rich organic compost for fertilizer, planting fruit trees and indigenous tree for the necessary, natural shade to protect the habitat of the Mountain Gorillas
Top middle: Dairy cows provide milk for farm families that also becomes an income source for families.
Top right: Urth Caffé gave and installed solar panel systems in farm family homes, many that never had electricity before. This transformed their lives – their children can study and read inside the home with modern lighting and power outlets for the first time ever. Also, homes outfitted with solar panel systems often become a secondary source of income for the family for charging cell-phones for the community.
Left: Mountain Gorilla Coffee Estate leaders and Shallom Berkman hold coffee pulp grinder that Urth Caffé purchased for farmers. This vital piece of equipment is used to grind the coffee cherry fruit off, so coffee beans can be placed in sun drying beds (center photo – Shallom with Gabriel and Veranda, the first family farm to join the Urth Caffé
Mountain Gorilla Coffee Estate). At right, Shallom meets with coffee farming leaders in Uganda.
Coffee is the heaviest chemically treated food commodity in the world, and the coffee industry is wrought with environmental destruction, deforestation, and social oppression. In support of passionate sustainable organic coffee farmers, Urth Caffé has sought to bring the greatest coffee to its customers – a coffee that is not only superb but is also healthier for the people who grow it, who drink it, and for the world.
Short-term thinking brings poor maintenance of the land that has caused severe soil erosion in coffee growing regions. Farmers using the synthetic, petroleum-based fertilizers year after year on the same plot of land will eventually find the soil exhausted and unable to grow anything.
Urth's farming partners use holistic approaches to grow superior coffee while protecting the longevity of the soil by using composting, intercropping and cross cropping, natural pest control and rain water collection.
Composting is comprised of collecting coffee fruit, skins, and all organic debris to make rich, natural fertilizer for future crops. These sustainable techniques play a major role in protecting soil vitality, yielding healthier crops, and providing economic diversity for the growers.