Melk and Biodynamic Farming
Hailing from Montreal, Quebec, is Melk, a roastery that focuses on sourcing coffees with holistic farming practices. Since opening, owners Dominique Jacques and Myriam Asselin have committed to only sourcing 100% organic coffee. We caught up with their Head of Sales, Théo Monnier, to learn more about Melk and their environmental commitment.
- Why does Melk choose to only source organic coffee?
It’s very important to us to source coffee in the best way we can without harming the environment or the people working at origin. We have recently been getting more into regenerative agriculture and biodynamic practices.
- How did you get interested in specialty coffee?
I had always been interested in wine and coffee. I had been working in wine in France, and I saw similarities between wine and coffee.
Before working here, I was working at Lufa Farms, a greenhouse farm in Montreal, and I brought in Melk to sell there. I really liked their idea and what they were all about. Dominique ended up bringing me on to work in sales for Melk and their other company, Biodynamic Coffee, which sells only biodynamic coffees, mostly in the United States. I have always wanted to be part of a company doing something for the environment.
- What are the crossovers that you have seen between wine and coffee?
There are so many similarities between how you treat wine and coffee, from how you make it grow to how you ferment it. Any anaerobic fermentation becoming popular in coffee is very common in wine. They all use anaerobic fermentation. So it was cool to see that applied in the coffee industry.
- What qualifies a farm as being biodynamic?
There is a certification called Demeter. You have to work to a specific calendar, but a big part of working with what you have around you and working with more biodiversity helps you have a better quality of your plants.
More about biodynamic farming:
The idea of biodynamic farming is to put back more than you extract. Central ideas are the promotion of soil fertility and enabling diversity by putting living ecological systems first. Demeter, a biodynamic certification company, describes biodynamic farming as having seven core principles.
- Soil Fertility is Key: the soil is regenerative, and the humus layer is rich and nourishing.
- Healthy Plants and GMO - Free Agriculture: there are no GMOs or chemically treated seeds on biodynamic farms.
- Respect for the Nature of Animals: animals are free-range and pasture fed.
- Biodiversity is Priceless: Chemical pesticides or herbicides are not used, and at least 10% of the farmland is left wild or dedicated to biodiversity.
- Highest Organic Quality Guaranteed: standards for certification go beyond organic practices.
- Ecological Responsibility: growers must consider the mutual interdependences in ecosystems and the well-being of all wildlife.
- Social Responsibility: growers must be equal-opportunity employers and provide safe working conditions.