We’re well into 2016 now and hope you’ve all had a fantastic start to the year. We certainly have! The Lucy Foundation team has been hard at work in Mexico and New Zealand pulling together research, ideas, dreams and concepts to establish TLF as a social enterprise and move into the next phase of fundraising and coffee production.
Robbie and Courtney celebrated this Christmas and New Year with our friends in Central and South America. Their mission? To learn more about coffee in the region and build rapport with local coffee farming communities.
Their first stop was Armenia, Colombia, to spend time with TLF coffee extraordinaire, Miguel Mendoza (some of you may remember Miguel from our last visit to Mexico). Miguel showed Robbie and Courtney around his new farm to see how specialty coffee is grown and processed for the New Zealand market.
Next they travelled to Popayan, Colombia to meet Fedar, an organisation that provides alternative education for people with disabilities. Fedar also has a coffee farm, which is used to teach people with disabilities maths, agriculture and administration outside of the traditional classroom. Fedar has been incredibly supportive of the current coffee project in Mexico and were happy to share their experiences with TLF.
Robbie and Courtney then flew to Zipolite – a small coastal village in the south of Oaxaca, Mexico, nestled below the mountains of Pluma Hidalgo. They spent the first three weeks living and volunteering with our partner organisation, Piña Palmera. Piña Palmera have been working with people with disabilities in the region for over 30 years and have played an integral role in facilitating the relationship between TLF, local people with disabilities, their families and the wider Pluma Hidalgo community.
At the end of January Ryan, Jessica and Miguel joined Robbie and Courtney in Zipolite. The first week was spent planning, collaborating, developing ideas, building drying beds, de-pulping, de-husking (done by foot with the inner tube of a motorbike tyre!), and roasting the coffee parchment purchased from five families in Pluma Hidalgo who are involved in the TLF project. Each family comes from a long history of coffee farming, and has a family member with a disability.
The team spent their final day in Oaxaca in Pluma Hidalgo, tasting coffee purchased from the five families (now hand sorted, processed and roasted using speciality coffee processes) and discussing what an international buyer might be looking for in specialty coffee. Miguel and Ryan then lead the families in an exercise to build a compost bin with only resources and tools found around the home. It was fantastic to see everyone getting involved, demonstrating how they can work together to create a compost bin from resources they already have and prepare compost for returning nutrients to the soil.
Not long now until we announce the details of phase one of the project.