Blog: 6 Months in Mexico

Six months ago we arrived in Mexico. Even though it was a ‘big move’ – one we knew would be hard – being half Mexican myself there was also the feeling of coming ‘home’.

I remember telling my father many years ago, “one day I will live in Mexico and learn the language and heart of my family’s culture”. Back then, I didn’t expect to be here with a social enterprise, working in areas that both Ryan and I are so passionate about – disability rights, coffee and agriculture.

Over the past six months we have stumbled our way through the language barrier and worked hard to build strong relationships with the families and local Zapotec community.

During this time we have looked at the different strengths and challenges of the families and where the greatest needs lie. It was clear there was a great need for a communal space that is both accessible and can offer workshops and employment, benefitting each family in a unique way. A place that brings unity between those with disabilities and the wider community.

Recently The Lucy Foundation Mexico was given a great opportunity to lease two hectares of land that meets these needs and where we now hold fortnightly workshops for the families. These workshops have ranged from picking, drying and sorting with specialty coffee techniques, to planting, creating bio-fertilizers and compost soup, beekeeping and carpentry skills.

Every now and again we invite someone from the wider community to teach a  workshop on a particular skill. We have had such a great response with entire families wanting to be involved, not solely those with disabilities. The progress of those that have been involved with these workshops has been amazing. Take, for example, Jose Gabriel (pictured).

To see Jose Gabriel, who was initially hesitant to even speak to other people, let alone plant plants or use a hammer, become confident and take ownership of his work, is just incredible.

We now not only have a space to teach and learn, but also a place that can offer work for other family members and to run coffee tours. The ranchito has an empty farmhouse on it, which is perfect as a place of rest for those in need and also an eco-retreat for tourists, creating more income for the families.

Together with Ryan (my incredibly hard-working, coffee-farming husband), some of the family members have planted 200 new Pluma coffee seedlings for the families to take ownership of and care for.

All in all, we are still learning, still growing (literally and figuratively!) and still working towards a brighter Pluma Hidalgo. An inclusive and accessible town that produces world-class speciality coffee.

Until next time…

Ryan, Jess and TLF Mexico

Drawing of hands holding coffee beans

Jessica and Ryan Sanders are co-founders and Field Directors for The Lucy Foundation. Originally from Hamilton, New Zealand, Jess and Ryan now live with their two children Lorenzo and Ebony in Pluma Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Mexico. Support the Sanders and the TLF Mexico project by donating today. 

Jess and Ryan standing on a balcony overlooking Pluma Hidalgo town square

Do you have something say about disability, coffee and employment?

Flick us an email, we’d love to hear from you!

This Saturday we'll be joining a bunch of other amazing disability social enterprises at the Illuminate Night Market in Mt Albert. We'll be selling all sorts of treats - from bags of TLF coffee, to TLF Bush Honey, plunger packs, as well as hot coffee by the cup. Swing by for a great family-friendly, inclusive event!

[Image description: Four TLF photos shared by Recreate NZ - Top left is Grace and Robbie running a TLF market stall. Top right is a bag of TLF coffee and a flat white in a white mug. Lower left is Don Epifanio, a coffee farmer partner from Mexico peering through leaves and cherries on a coffee tree. Lower right is a TLF fundraiser poster that reads 'The best coffee of all is coffee for all'.]

#TheBestCoffeeOfAllIsCoffeeForAll #DisabilityEmployment #InclusiveCoffee #SocialEnterprise #EnvironmentalRegeneration #FilterCoffeeNotPeople
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2 weeks ago

The Lucy Foundation

Congratulations to TLF founder and director Dr Robbie Francis Watene for being awarded the #HerAbilities Award in Rights!The #HerAbilities Award in Rights goes to 🥁

Dr. Robbie Francis Watene! Robbie is a leading disability rights activist from New Zealand. She founded The Lucy Foundation, an international social business that promotes inclusion and diversity in the global coffee industry. The jury agree: “she is an amazing role model and a super smart businesswoman.” Congratulations 🎊
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3 weeks ago

The Lucy Foundation

Disability inclusive✅
Environmentally regenerative✅
Simply delicious ✅

Purchase freshly roasted coffee beans (Pluma single origin or Lucy blend) through our website, and the roaster will donate $5 per kg back to our charitable objectives.

[Image description: A vase shaped like Frida Kahlo filled with dried flowers sits between a compostable TLF bag of coffee and a freshly brewed TLF mug of coffee. In the foreground is a wooden spoon overflowing with TLF coffee beans. The background is a white tiled bench and wall.]
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4 weeks ago

The Lucy Foundation

Our first harvest! 😋 Delicious, nutritious and locally grown by our amazing team in Pluma Hidalgo! These types of productive projects not only create inclusion for people with disabilities, but they also generate food autonomy and employment!

Thank you New Zealand Embassy for your support in helping make this happen!

Primera cosecha de nuestros hongos! 😋 Deliciosos, nutritivos y cultivados localmente por nuestro increíble equipo en Pluma Hidalgo. Este tipo de proyectos productivos no sólo crean inclusión para las personas con discapacidad, sino que generan autonomía alimentaria y empleo!

Gracias a la Embajada de Nueva Zelanda por su apoyo para hacer esto posible!

#thelucyfoundation #PlumaHidalgo #disabilityemployment #newzealand #mexicooaxaca #thebestcoffeeofalliscoffeeforall #mushroomsoaxaca
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1 month ago

The Lucy Foundation

Sharing moments with TLF members and women of the community. This is a project brought to Pluma by Mary of the Mermejita Circus, where she invites women to explore with movement and body therapy.

Compartiendo momentos con miembros de TLF y mujeres de la comunidad. Este es un proyecto que nos viene a compartir Mary del Circo Mermejita, donde invita a las mujeres a explorar con el movimiento y terapia corporal.

#PlumaHidalgo #thelucyfoundation #inclusivecommunity #FelizAñoNuevo #PlumaCoffeeProject #DisabilityRightsAreHumanRights
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