York plays host to its Las Nubes coffee partners

at timothys
Above: From left, Enrique Ramirez, Howard Daugherty, Timothy’s President Becky McKinnon, a Timothy’s customer, Victor Hugo Carranza and Luis Angel Rojas enjoy a cup of Las Nubes coffee

York welcomed its Costa Rican partners in the Las Nubes sustainable coffee project as they visited the University recently. In addition to holding meetings on future plans for the coffee, the group toured roasting facilities in the Greater Toronto Area, including one near York’s Keele campus owned by Timothy’s World Coffee, marketers of the Las Nubes brand in Canada.

howard et alLeft: From left, Howard Daugherty, Luis Angel Rojas and Las Nubes benefactor Dr. Woody Fisher

Guests on the visit included Enrique Ramirez and Oscar Lucke of Costa Rica’s Tropical Science Center and representatives of the farmers’ co-operative that produces Las Nubes sustainable coffee: Victor Hugo Carranza, director of the cooperative; Alba Nidia Rojas Borbon, Chair of the cooperative’s board of directors; Roger Zuñinga, director of research & development; and Luis Angel Rojas, a local producer of shade-grown coffee. York environmental studies Professor Howard Daugherty, director of the Fisher Fund for Neotropical Conservation and the man behind the marketing plan for Las Nubes coffee, and FES alumna Christina Polzot (MES ’04) escorted the guests on their tour and at meetings on future plans for the project.

Las Nubes brand coffee is shade-grown and certified sustainable by Costa Rica’s Ministry of Agriculture as grown in an environmentally, economically and socially responsible way. Producers employ methods that meet government standards for preserving the structure and function of the ecosystem, use fair labour practices and bring a fair-trade price, or better, for the crop. It is available at more than 140 Timothy’s coffee stores across Canada and from several vendors on the Keele campus.

at roasterDuring their meetings, members of York’s Las Nubes project committee and the Tropical Science Center developed a work plan for 2004-2005 and a five-year strategic plan focusing on collaborative research and training with input from the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation and the Department of Biology in the Faculty of Science & Engineering.

Right: From left, Roger Zuñinga, Luis Angel Rojas, Victor Hugo Carranza and Alba Nidia Rojas Borbon at Timothy’s North York roasting facility

A highlight of the week was a visit to a local Timothy’s coffee shop that brought the grower, the retailer and the Canadian consumer together over a cup of Las Nubes Coffee. The occasion symbolized production of York’s own brand of coffee “from bean to cup”. Another highlight of the week was a reception held by FES Dean Joni Seager at the York Club.

For more information on York’s Las Nubes coffee, see the story in the March 17 issue of YFile. For information on the Las Nubes rain forest, visit the FES Web site.