Local coffee shop practices global sustainability and brings communities together

Groundwork Coffee is a local roaster that has been operating three locations in the Portland area since 2016. As a newly enrolled member of the Green Future program, Groundwork believes coffee should serve as a catalyst for positive change, and they work to support producer partners and communities via their area cafes.

For Groundwork, sustainability starts at the supply chain. Their coffee buyers have unique relationships with growers around the world. When they purchase beans, they want a quality, organic product, but they also want to understand how the growing operations impact the surrounding communities. Coffee growing can affect everything from ground water to nearby schools. Groundwork takes a stewardship position to support those communities, while ensuring the coffee quality is exceptional.

"It's easier, and more inexpensive, to just say you're organic. Growers are shying away from the rigors of the certification process” said Jody Baker, general manager. "We know the importance of being certified, which is why we work with growers and sometimes subsidize the certification process — to ensure they're producing the best quality beans in an ethical manner."

In Portland, Groundwork instills those same values in local communities. When they're not volunteering at the Portland Rescue Mission, they're holding fundraisers at events like Brew Bash. They also have a knack for getting their coffee into the hands of people that need it most. They donate gallons and gallons of coffee to PTA meetings, Lions Club gatherings, Operation Nightwatch, the Humane Society and anywhere people are doing good.

In their coffee shops, they've perfected the little things that make a big difference: biodegradable cups, LED lighting and spent grounds donations to local gardeners. Even the main architectural elements in the store are made from reclaimed and recycled wood and glass.

It all adds up to a company that understands the importance of community and the value of stewardship. As a Green Future business, Groundwork is setting the standard for sustainability in Portland.

"We're always looking for new and exciting ways to do good,” said Baker.