Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

Grounds for Change
Poulsbo, WA

Grounds for Change is a small, family-owned coffee roasting business that deals exclusively in organic, shade-grown, Fair Trade coffees. The company has made strong efforts to reduce waste in a variety of ways:

  1. All of their roasting by-product (chaff) goes to local farmers who use it as mulch;
  2. They compost all unused coffee beans, coffee grounds, filters, compostable cups and utensils, used paper towels (except any used with chemicals), and food waste;
  3. They offer compostable cups to all of their wholesale customers; and
  4. The large burlap bags in which they receive unroasted coffee beans are all reused and/or donated for such activities as the annual International Coastal Clean-Up Day, for stabilizing raised beds at several local farms/CSAs, and as material to be sewn into tote bags by a local farmer to earn extra income in her off-season.

In addition to waste-reduction efforts, Grounds for Change is an all-around green company with both a social justice and environmental sustainability focus. They are dedicated to producing a superior coffee product in a way that shares the monetary benefit with growers and has as little environmental impact on the planet as possible. All of their coffee is organic, which reduces the environmental toll of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and protects the health of coffee workers at the beginning of the supply chain.

All of the coffee beans that Grounds for Change purchases are shade-grown, which helps preserve the biodiversity of insects and birdlife in the coffee gardens. The shade plants (trees or very tall shrubs) also contribute in their own small way to helping cool our ever-warming planet.

Grounds for Change is the first coffee roastery in the United States to become completely carbon-neutral. This is achieved by purchasing 100-percent renewable energy through Puget Sound Energy's Green Power Program, and off-setting remaining emissions from transporation or other business operations through Recently the company has acquired an electric car (a Nissan Leaf), used for all local deliveries, again lessening emissions. Overall, Grounds for Change runs a green business that benefits coffee-growners, and to benefits all of us through their pursuit of zero-waste and the smallest environmental footprint possible.


Future Coffee Roaster! Peru
Future coffee roaster! The burlap bags that carry coffee beans from Bolivia, Peru, Nicragua, and East Timor will be repurposed into tote bags, or reused at local farms and coastal clean-up efforts. Grounds for Change protects the families and communities of workers at the beginning of their supply chain, purchasing only organic, shade-grown coffee.
Business Award Cupping
"We wanted to cultivate a business that would allow us to live out our values,” said Kelsey Marshall (left), cofounder of Grounds for Change, accepting the Washington Family Business Award in December from Michael Rosomer (center) of Seattle Business Magazine, along with co-founder Stacy Marshall (right). Cupping one of the newest crops from East Timor.