In 2014, a group of young people from Waikato, Aotearoa New Zealand, decided to do something bold and disruptive. Having learned about the disadvantage experienced by disabled people around the world, they knew they had to respond to the injustice. This is how The Lucy Foundation was born - named after co-founder, Dr Robbie Francis Watene’s prosthetic ‘Lucy Leg’.
They started thinking... How can we do things differently and lead by example? How can we demonstrate the value of diversity in business? What product can’t Kiwis live without, and would be willing to pay more for if they knew it had been produced in an ethical and disability inclusive way? COFFEE.
For the sake of time, let’s fast forward seven years of hard work, research, fundraising, visits and whanaungatanga - The Lucy Foundation is now a blossoming social enterprise actively transforming the global coffee industry through an end-to-end value chain of coffee that is entirely inclusive of disabled people.
We do this by partnering with local coffee-farming families in rural Mexico to help them grow healthier, stronger and higher yield crops. We also support disabled community members into training and employment within the local coffee industry.
Coffee produced by the farmers is then purchased by the TLF supply chain and processed by disabled team members and their whānau in Pluma Hidalgo, Mexico, before being exported to Aotearoa New Zealand.
Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, we partner with organisations who also support disabled Kiwis into training and employment - to roast, market and sell the coffee, thus completing the world’s first disability inclusive value chain - from farmer to consumer.
Watch the Attitude documentary below to learn more about our story...