It all started in 1997 ...
In 1997, four families came together with the idea of improving the lives of disadvantaged producers through trade. We were inspired by the work of Ten Thousand Villages and were keen to see the principles of Fair Trade applied to foods we consume every day.
Level Ground’s first Fair Trade initiative was buying coffee from a cooperative in Colombia. Fair Trade premiums are directed to educational scholarships in the coffee growing region and the project has grown to support 200 scholarships /year! We’ve loved watching amazing students grow up to become incredible professionals including doctors, agronomists & social workers.
From there… lots happened!
- Trade relationships were formed in Bolivia, Peru, Ethiopia, Tanzania & D.R. Congo.
- A Colombian company was formed to produce dried fruit and cane sugar and to provide positive employment for displaced women.
- Trade relationships were started with; small-scale tea growers in India, heirloom rice farmers and coconut oil producers in the Philippines and finally with spice farmers in Sri Lanka & vanilla growers in Uganda.
Fair Trade premiums are directed to different projects based on the needs of the farmers; healthcare benefits, school scholarships, agricultural technical training, co-op projects etc. It’s been an adventure in travel and trade! We are now honoured to have farmer friends around the world.
At home in Victoria we;
- stick to a ‘zero to landfill’ mandate for our office & roasting facility.
- compost over 20,000 lbs of organic matter and reclaim 24,000 empty coffee packages/year.
- upcycle our returned packaging.
- converted our coffee package to 100% compostable packaging material.
- pay staff to bike, carpool or bus to work - this saves nearly 52,000 kms/year. That is almost one and a half times around the world!