At Alternative Grounds, we began by roasting only fairly traded coffees. That was five years ago, and there was little attention paid to fairtrade and why it was important. It wasn't until 1998 that Fair TradeMark Canada, an independent fairtrade licensing and regulatory body, came into being. We were proud to be one of the first licensees, and proud of our contribution to a growing awareness of fairtrade and freshly roasted coffee. None of this would have happened, if it weren't important to you! In fact, your growing awareness lead to a new home for our roaster and a new look for our cafe! No more stopping traffic on Roncesvalles while loyal customers and a neighbouring shopkeeper helped unload 152 lb coffee bags, 1 bag at a time, in through the front door and then down to the basement! Hooray for loading dock doors and a pallet wagon!
Some things never change though. We continue to roast and custom blend our coffees daily so that the coffee you are buying is always fresh and always unique. We continue to be the only roaster in our area that roasts solely fairtrade coffees, and in 2005 the Roastery became a certified organic processor. Purchasing your coffee at Alternative Grounds means you purchase coffee of the highest quality that is fresh roasted, and supports the people who actually grow the beans and are stewards of the land. You are also helping to show that there are other ways of doing business, ways based on mutual trust, cooperation and respect.
As the momentum for fairly traded products continues to grow, we are happy to report that other fairly traded products are becoming available. At present, we are able to offer a variety of fairly traded teas, cocoa and hot chocolate, chocolate bars, hand-made chocolates, juice...what will be next!