Tuesday, November 16, 2010

RoosRoast Coffee

I am currently enrolled in a absolutely phenomenal PitE course called Food: The Ecology, Economics, & Ethics of Growing & Eating (ENVIRON 302). For any UM student interested in sustainable food systems, you really have to take this course. There are so many things that I have learned in this course and after every lecture I want to share the knowledge but I don't think that I will do that right now...

The course has three overarching objectives:

  1. Provide context for the contemporary food movement.
  2. Imagine "good work" in the growing and eating of good food.
  3. Identify elements of a sustainable, economical, and just food system.
One way that the professor, Thomas Princen, has been helping us imagine "good work" is by bringing in guest speakers to talk about their work in the current food system. So far, John Hochstetler (a local farmer and ran for the 18th District state Senate seat in this past election), Jessica Roberts (the head chef at Beanster's at the MI League) and Kristen Gelino (senior kitchen manager at the People's Food Co-op).

Today, Brian Barch from RoosRoast Coffee came and talked about his work. It is run by John Roos and obviously the coffee beans are not locally grown but locally roasted instead. RoosRoast is currently at about 80-90% fair trade, depending on the specific roast, but they are working towards 100% fair trade/organic. You can buy their coffee at every Ann Arbor farmer's market as well as a few local businesses, including Cafe Verde and Sparrow Market.

Brian said one thing that really hit me, which is the reason that I am blogging right now. Concerning the expansion of RoosRoast as a business:

"Grow to a certain point, until it feels right. And then stop."

In a society that promotes growth as the ideal action, the concept of sufficiency falls to the wayside. RoosRoast has no aspirations of franchising or going national. Right now, Ann Arbor is enough for them. What a perfect example of staying local in a global economy. Importing coffee beans while processing and distributing in Ann Arbor.

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