Posts Tagged 'Biodiesel'

Julia. Peace. Coffee.

In Minneapolis I mentioned to my host the purpose of my trip, and he recommended I check out a couple of spots that he thought would peak my interest. One of them was the non profit, Peace Coffee, and boy was he right!

Julia, trailer, coffee!

Peace Coffee is a coffee distributor and roastery in downtown Minneapolis. They roast 100% organic, fair trade beans five days a week, and are committed to buying coffee from cooperatives to make sure their operation is non-exploitative. But that is not the best part…the coffee is delivered by bike! Peace Pedalers, as they are called, bike over 5,000 miles every year delivering their beans to coffee shops and retailers all around Minneapolis. Their motto is ‘Roast beans, not fossil fuels,’ and boy do they live up to it. Every morning two cyclists make the rounds to drop coffee off around the city. I caught up with Julia, a Peace Pedaler, as she began her ride.
Julia is an avid cyclist (like most people in St. Paul-Minneapolis), and this job caught her eye when she was looking for work. We talked as we followed the most efficient route to each of the customers. The coffee is loaded in a long, box trailer that is capable of carrying hundreds of pounds of coffee. To maneuver the trailer fully loaded is quite the task, and it helps if you know the cracks, ditches, and alleys by heart. To her it was just another day on the job, but I was so excited to simply follow her around until I felt like I was annoying her.
Peace coffee tackles the two most valuable commodities on the planet, coffee and oil. By creating a fair trade market they ensuring better lives of farmers and their communities. By biking, they are autonomous in their reluctance to drive a delivery truck that runs on regular diesel fuel.
Growth did eventually exceed the range that was possible with bicycle delivery and a van was purchased. The van runs on biodiesel, a blend of vegetable oil, methane, and small amounts of lye, and is purchased from a local source, the Twin Cities Biodiesel Coop. Biodiesel is an alternative to petroleum that has the ability to dramatically reduce sulfate and hydrocarbon emissions, as well as reduce particulate matter in the air we breath. It is important to assess how we transport goods, as transportation (personal cars and trucks, freight hauling, airlines, shipping, and railroads) is responsible for the largest portion of U.S. oil consumption, and it is the fastest growing sector in terms of oil consumption.
Leave it to the Twin Cities to have Peace Coffee. It is 5pm, and the streets are littered in cyclists. Bike gangs of middle aged men with colorful cycling shirts are only a part of the massive bike culture that is obvious here. Though I am sad to leave, I am happy that Peace Coffee is in business!

Visit Peace Coffee’s homepage!