Humber helps Indigenous communities through new coffee initiative

Oct 14, 2022 | News

Humber College students can now combine their passion for coffee with the chance to support a good cause.

Grown and produced by Indigenous farmers, Birch Bark Coffee focuses on providing clean drinking water to Indigenous communities in Canada and is available at all Humber College cafeterias on the North and Lakeshore campuses.

Their goal is to send a percentage of every coffee bean purchased towards providing Belkraft water purification units to Indigenous communities that are needed to improve their water quality.

In Canada, boil water advisories are issued when there are problems with the water treatment system, which may cause the presence of viruses, bacteria, or parasites. Residents of these areas are advised to boil their water for a full minute before using it.

For Resident District Manager Gobi Perumal, Humber’s initiative is essential.

“It gives students the chance to help many communities with a simple gesture in their daily lives. It is local, it is a product with certified high quality, and it is an Indigenous business done by and for Indigenous communities,” Perumal said.

“I’m glad to hear that the coffee was implemented successfully at Humber campuses,” he said. “The feedback I’m hearing from students is pretty good so far because this is also important.

“We need to sell the coffee, and for that, it has to be good, or people wouldn’t buy it,” Perumal said. “Also, it’s interesting that each flavour has a small text with information about an Indigenous community. It is more than just coffee.”

Aline Galindo, first-year law clerk student at Humber College, said the initiative is a great opportunity.

“I drink coffee every day, and now that I know about this initiative, I’m choosing Birch Bark Coffee. It is good, and I feel that I’m helping Indigenous communities,” she said.

Humber has committed to serving Birch Bark Coffee at every event, meeting, and conference hosted by the college.

Anmole Singh, head of Operations and General Manager at Humber North campus, said this initiative brings a creative way to help Indigenous communities.

“I believe clean water is one of the most basic rights, so we were happy to bring this coffee to Humber,” he said.

Chris D’Souza, a fourth-year nursing student at Humber, said finding out about Humber’s Birch Bark Coffee initiative was a pleasant surprise.

“I wasn’t aware I could help so much simply by buying coffee, I didn’t know about this project, but yes, I’m definitely glad to help,” he said.