TLF Mexico

The Lucy Foundation’s model shows the value of diversity in business. We work with communities to establish their social, economic and environmental needs. We then calculate how we can meet these needs through sustainable trade.

In 2016, The Lucy Foundation established a team on the ground in Pluma Hidalgo – an isolated coffee-farming village, high in the mountains of Mexico. The aim of the Pluma Coffee Project is to transform the global coffee industry by developing a sustainable value chain of coffee that is not only good for the environment, the community and the economy, but is also inclusive of disabled people, from seed to cup.

To do this, we work with indigenous coffee-farming families, all affected by disability, to help them increase the quality and quantity of their coffee. We also help disabled family members to become trained and employed within the local coffee industry through beekeeping, barista coffee training, coffee tours, coffee harvest and agricultural workshops. Within the first year of operation The Lucy Foundation successfully:

  • Held more than 30 inclusive and accessible agricultural workshops with coffee-farming families and the wider community;
  • Created 6,000 litres of organic bio-fertiliser and 600 litres of organic insect and disease treatment made for the crops;
  • Helped develop a local barista training program (also delivered in sign language);
  • Set up beehives to increase coffee quality through pollination and as additional income for the families;
  • Supported three disabled people into paid, part-time contract work;
  • Launched our first batch of Pluma coffee and cascara (coffee) tea in New Zealand.

So why coffee? Coffee is a good source of seasonal income for coffee farmers in this remote region of Mexico where poverty is high. Coffee is also being used to empower disabled people to work on coffee farms that their families have been working for generations, as well as become more active in their community. Pluma coffee is exclusively grown in Pluma Hidalgo, Mexico and is new to New Zealand coffee drinkers. Coffee is the economic backbone of Pluma Hidalgo, Mexico with many families having a small number of trees in their backyard. We work side-by-side with these coffee farmers and their families to help improve their crops and promote inclusive economic opportunities within the community.

In New Zealand, The Lucy Foundation partners with organisations, such as Coffee Educators and Able. Coffee Collaborative, who actively support disabled Kiwis into training and employment within the New Zealand coffee industry. Pluma coffee is used as a catalyst for change, promoting inclusive and accessible business both in Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world.

What we love about this project is that at all stages of production there are opportunities for people with different abilities to play a key role in the end-to-end supply chain of coffee.

At the heart of this project is community. Changing perceptions requires meaningful and inclusive community interactions. And as one of our co-founders, Ben Scott, says:

What’s good for community is good for business.

And who wouldn’t want to be a part of social change just by enjoying a good cuppa!
The Lucy Foundation team is looking for funding and donations in New Zealand, Mexico and around the world. Find out how you can help us out here.

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In April 2018 the heads of governments from all Commonwealth nations (and the Queen!) will meet in London for the biennial CHOGM summit. The theme of this year's meeting is "Towards a Common Future", with a particular focus on youth and inclusion.

In the lead up to the summit, the hosts of the CHOGM are showcasing Commonwealth stories from around the world, and our very own Robbie Francis was asked to share hers! Check it out:
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Meet Robbie - a human rights advocate & co-founder of The Lucy Foundation, a social enterprise which works to improve #disability inclusiveness through sustainable trade ICYMI: We featured Robbie as one of our amazing role models who is changing lives and making a difference in #ourCommonwealth 🇳🇿 marking #IWD2018 UK in New Zealand University of Otago @commonwealthscholarships @roberta.francis.3551

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A few more awesome snaps from the field...

Memo (TLF Temporary Field Director) writes that for him, inclusion is all about including people with disabilities in as many activities as possible. On this occasion the guys shared their skills with Don Epifanio (organic coffee farmer), and helped him make a mineral treatment for coffee rust (fungus disease). In this way, people with disabilities, as well as the community, can be empowered through the sharing of activities, skills and socialization.

"It's always a good time to work in Paradise!" - Memo Baca Acuario
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Today is International Women’s Day, so we wanted to give a shout out to the amazing wahine on our TLF team! We are so proud that 71% of our team identify as female, and more than half of them proudly identify as disabled! But as much as today is about celebrating mujeres, we also want to remember that globally women and girls with disabilities are one of the most marginalised sectors of humanity:

- 75% of women with disabilities are unemployed
- Women with disabilities who are employed earn less than male counterparts and women without disabilities
- 99% of girls and women with disabilities in the global south are illiterate
- Women and girls with disabilities face disproportionately high rates of gender-based violence, sexual abuse, neglect, maltreatment and exploitation
- Women and girls with disabilities are more likely to experience gender-based violence compared to women and girls without disabilities
- Women with disabilities are regularly denied reproductive healthcare and at times are subjected to forced sterilization

We must be the change!

#iwd2018 #disabledandcute
#strongwomen #disabodyposi
#inclusionrider #thelucyfoundation #plumacoffeeproject

[Image Description: 6 picture grid - Profile pictures of Jessica Pantoja-Sanders, Robbie Francis and Courtney Wilson on the top row. Second row reads 'women', The Lucy Foundation logo and 'wahine'. The bottom row is a profile picture of Erin Gough, the word 'mujeres' and a profile picture of Umi Asaka]
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© 2018 The Lucy Foundation.