Don Maslow Coffee is grown using an environmentally friendly method called ‘Integrated Open Canopy’ (IOC), which is a technology developed by the Mesoamerican Development Institute, an NGO based from the University of Massachusetts Lowell in Boston USA.
The IOC method is a way of growing coffee that instead of clearing woodland to make way for the farm, includes the forest habitat as part of the coffee farm. IOC coffee production has been proven to increase coffee yields while supporting the forest habitat and its biodiversity.
The IOC approach has been working so well that the National Honduran Forestry Service has made Cafe Solar, the first brand to harness this technology, an official partner in helping to protect Honduras’ National Parks. Their plan is to increase the number of IOC coffee farms in the region and start linking them to create an even larger corridor of protected natural forest.
IOC production benefits the environment and the farmer in the following ways:Advantages for the environment
1. Increased cloud forest cover providing habitat for many forest-dependent species, including many migratory birds;
2. Development and preservation of forest habitat for carbon reduction;
3. Increase in biodiversity and habitat complexity;
4. Greatly enhanced hydrologic conditions for the environment.Advantages/incentives for the coffee farmer
1. Increase in yields (typically 3x) for small farmers;
2. Reduction in labour by concentrating the area of production;
3. Additional revenues from carbon trading (equivalent to 15% to 25% premium in coffee revenues);
4. Reduced spread of infections due to forest buffers;
5. Increased coffee pollination.