Buena Vista Roastery

Coffee and the Mountains

Archive for agriculture

New Blog Site

We have upgraded our blogging capability. This means that we had to get a new blog address. All of the posts here are on it already, and future posts will be put there. Thank you: www.bvroasteryblog.com.


Systems Thinking in Coffee and the Climate Change

I recently read a blurb about a University of Michigan study that focuses on how shade grown coffee will help alleviate stress of weather extremes potentially resulting from the changing climate. The results of the study seem rather common sensical once you understand basics of systems thinking. I am not one to question to judgment of funding such a project, because it plays an important role in academia and, as a result, in influencing policy. I will take the opportunity, however, to spout a bit about systems thinking and coffee. Read the rest of this entry »

Scratching Biofuels with Coffee

The Washington Post has an interesting op-ed this morning, by Vinod Khosla. You might need to be signed up with the Post to read the whole article. In his piece entitled, “All Biofuels Are Not the Same”, he answers a Wall Street Journal critique of his advocacy of subsidies for food-based ethanol. He says,

Cellulosic biofuels offer a chance to have an environmentally meaningful impact on petroleum use while benefiting farmers, entrepreneurs and consumers…biodiesel from food oils such as soybean or palm oil has traditionally created environmental negatives. But corn ethanol has been a stepping stone to cellulosic ethanol, a preferred alternative that is likely to achieve unsubsidized market competitiveness with oil within a few years.

His arguments seem sound from a certain perspective, yet some may question whether they get to the root of the issue and may be rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Read the rest of this entry »

Organic is not holistic

I read the following quote yesterday. It comes from a very respectable company that roasts coffee and sells it over the Internet and perhaps through some cafes and restaurants local to them,

Organic farming is the art of holistically utilizing the systems and resources at hand to produce a crop that is the true, natural creation of the land and soil on which it was grown.

And I am compelled to write about its inaccuracy. Today’s organic farming is entirely non-holistic. It is as far from being ‘holistic’ as any conventional farming. By definition these are mutually exclusive elements, as organic/conventional is a fabrication of linear thinking, the other requires the ability to process enormous amounts of information and complexity found in both natural and soft systems.

Read the rest of this entry »