Migratory Imaginations: The Commodification and Contradictions of Shade Grown Coffee

Sarah Lyon
Publication Date: 
In recent years the consumption of shade grown coffee has expanded rapidly in North America, becoming an established sector of the growing green products market.
The certified shade grown coffee market is influenced by North American fantasies of pure, untouched nature and romantic portrayals of small coffee farmers as natural conservationists, eager to protect birds, biodiversity, and natural resources. These Northern constructions of habitat and eco friendly agricultural production directly influence the regulations constituting the shade grown certification system. Consequently, farmers seeking shade grown certification and access to the sustainable coffee market confront a rigid certification system whose requirements may appear irrational and excessive within a local agricultural system.