One Bean, Two Farmers: The S&D Connection
How S&D supports farmers in our local and global communities
At S&D Coffee & Tea, we provide meaningful assistance to those who live and work in our communities, both at home and abroad. As a leader in guiding the coffee industry toward more sustainable practices, we take our responsibility seriously to be good stewards of the planet and positive contributors to society. One of our key initiatives to achieve this standard is arming those in our supply chain with training and resources to help implement sustainable practices.
To illustrate our hands-on commitment to our affiliated farmers—both at home and abroad—let’s follow one journey of S&D coffee beans.
Starting at Origin
Our coffee beans originate from farms around the globe, such as La Curva in Nicaragua, owned by a young coffee producer Oliver Efren Vasquez. Like many coffee farmers, Vasquez has access to farmland but lacks modern agricultural training and resources to optimize the fertility of his soil. Farmers like Vasquez face climate challenges that threaten the viability of their farmland, forcing them to be more productive on existing land and to cut costs to maximize profitability. These obstacles are driving away many next-generation farmers.
S&D helps our farmers through partnerships with local agronomists and soil labs, services available to the nearly 5,000 farmers who participate in S&D’s Raíz Sustainability®. Expert local partners on the ground in Nicaragua help Vasquez improve the fertility of his soil and cut costs on fertilizer. Raíz producers in Antioquia, Colombia, benefit from a soil lab built by delosAndes Cooperativa, along with financial support from S&D.
“Before I started working on this project, I didn’t know what a soil analysis was. We have improved everything we know about coffee production, from chemical management to handling residual waters, to protecting the flora and fauna,” said Vasquez. “Through both the soil and water analysis, we are getting the necessary nutrients to the plant so that it can achieve a better quality and outcome.”
We support practices that help provide clean water and healthy, fertile soil to yield the best crops while nurturing environmental stewardship. S&D also guides our farmers toward agricultural best practices in agroforestry and biodiversity, allowing them to increase productivity while preserving the environment.
Creating a Local Connection
Premium coffee from Vasquez’s farm in Nicaragua is shipped to S&D in North Carolina where it is roasted. As part of our continued sustainability efforts, a portion of the spent coffee grounds from our extract facilities are donated to the Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm, a local, certified organic operation that helps beginning farmers gain access to land and equipment to start their own farms. At Lomax Farm, the coffee grounds are tilled into the soil to help grow organic produce, which will then be sold at local farmers markets.
Investing in the Future
Today, U.S. farmers face a similar plight to farmers abroad. While U.S. farmers tend to have access to technical knowledge needed, many lack the tools or capital necessary to acquire land. Land that is both available and affordable tends to be in short supply and in need of rehabilitation to become fertile. Many determined farmers like Chuck Danielka, owner of Raw Logic Farm, farm part-time while holding down a full-time job to one day finance farmland of his own.
Danielka relies on the Farmers-In-Training Program at Lomax Farm for education, resources and support. By building a strong network of farmers-in-training, Lomax is creating a viable farming opportunity for people across North and South Carolina. That’s what drives Danielka and others within the community to support Lomax. All farmers struggle, but the ability to farm together, create community and grow healthy food gives deeper meaning to the experience.
S&D is a proud supporter of Lomax Farm and the Farmers-In-Training Program. Our contributions help cover operational costs, including tractor repairs, soil sample testing, greenhouse heating, irrigation supplies and labor. In addition to donating spent grounds for soil enrichment, we donate burlap sacks for use in erosion control.
Coming Full Circle
Throughout the full lifecycle of our coffee—from farming coffee beans to donating compostable waste from coffee production—S&D serves as a resource and advocate for sustainable farming practices that enable hardworking, aspiring farmers to nurture and grow their crops. We support hardworking farmers in conserving environmental resources and improving efficiencies. This enables S&D to ensure consistent, high-quality beverage solutions for our customers.