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Building an inclusive and accessible coffee supply chain

Building an inclusive and accessible coffee supply chain - from bean to cup

The Lucy Foundation is a Kiwi social enterprise empowering people with disabilities in New Zealand and Mexico to work in the coffee industry by breaking down training and employment barriers and creating inclusive work environments.

The Lucy Foundation has been working with coffee-farming families, including family members with a disability, to produce coffee for export back to New Zealand that is part of an inclusive and sustainable supply chain from the coffee seedling right through to the cup of coffee you drink at home.

Robbie Francis, the director and co-founder of TLF, says the coffee is the result of hard work and commitment from the community in both Pluma Hidalgo, Mexico and New Zealand.

"The Lucy Foundation team have been working hard on the ground to promote inclusion and diversity in the community through coffee farming, agricultural workshops and employment," Robbie says.

"This project would not be possible without the support of New Zealand organisations and the community. This coffee is not just coffee, it is proof that through coffee we can create inclusive and accessible trade."

The first batch of Pluma coffee was available for sale in late September and has nearly sold out. The launch events were attended by the Mexican ambassador, disability rights advocates and New Zealand supporters.

24 per cent of New Zealanders live with a disability. Recent Statistics NZ findings show that disabled Kiwis are twice as likely to be unemployed in New Zealand and earn only half the average weekly income of non-disabled New Zealanders. Disabled people also have less access to services and face societal barriers and discrimination.

The Lucy Foundation has launched a PledgeMe campaign (a New Zealand-based crowdfunding platform) for the second phase of The Lucy Foundation's coffee project, which includes expanding operations in New Zealand. The team aims to raise a minimum of $20,000 by 22 October 2017.

Phase two of the coffee project will include:
delivering more agricultural workshops to the community (to increase the quality and yield of the plants)
increasing the quantity of coffee production (expanding our project to include more families in accessible and inclusive trade)
paying for day-to-day operations (keeping us going so we can continue to expand and improve the project), and
developing a community development fund (for inclusive and accessible resources, coffee tours, bee keeping and barista training)

Primarily driven by volunteers, The Lucy Foundation’s operational budget for 2017 is $65,000. Additional money raised will be used to further expand both the New Zealand and Mexico operations. The Lucy Foundation aims to increase this budget by $100,000 over the next three years to grow the organisation and increase impact.

The Lucy Foundation’s achievements so far:

In 2016, nearly $25,000 was raised through PledgeMe for the first phase of the project.
30+ inclusive and accessible agricultural workshops with coffee-farming families and the wider community
6,000 litres of bio-fertiliser and 600 litres of insect and disease treatment made for the crops
Development of a local barista training program (also delivered in sign language)
Bee hives set up to increase coffee quantity and as additional income for the families
People with disabilities in paid, part-time contract work
First batch of Pluma coffee and cascara (coffee) tea launched in New Zealand


ENDS

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