Peoples Coffee

Pinaman Owusu-Banahene is kind of amazing, she is the founder of social enterprise ADJOAA (Africa Design Journey through AustralAsia) the brains (and brawn) behind Wellington’s first ever Africa Fashion Festival and is (aptly) perhaps the most fashionable person I have ever met.

I sat down with Pinaman last week at our Constable Street café to talk about her long-gestating vision for Africa Fashion Festival FINALLY coming to fruition, what she’s most excited about and why the festival is about so much more than beautiful clothing. We also got to tasting some of the bespoke ‘Fashinii’ blend that Peoples Coffee has crafted to support the festival!

Pinaman Owusu-Banahene – founder of ADJOAA and the Africa Fashion Festival

The Festival

Here’s the lowdown – designed to help promote and celebrate African designers the Africa Fashion Festival is ‘an opportunity to experience the richness and vibrancy of African culture through fashion and other art forms’. From the out-set Pinaman wanted to create a platform that celebrated not only established and emerging African artists but also the heritage of the continent and the traditional techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation.

Six esteemed international designers will be showing at the festival as well as two local emerging talents.

The festival is also about giving back. A percentage of ticket sales has been earmarked for the establishment of three key social initiatives for young Africans in New Zealand as well as a fund for social projects on the ground in African communities.

Ghanaia-made Luxury Footwear from sisters Nana & Afua Dabanka for MONAA 

What to Expect

Pinaman has curated an experience that speaks to the heart of the festival at every turn. She has bought together an exceptional group of designers including Nana Brenu, Laurence Chauvin-Buthaud and Nana & Afua Dabanka showing collections ranging from dresses and accessories (handcrafted raffia bags and sustainable wooden eyewear) to men’s wear and stunning hand-made leather shoes.

Attendees will be treated to a showcase of local and ethical products on arrival from Peoples Coffee and Wellington Chocolate Factory to the The Body Shop, Good Buzz, Karma Cola and more. On top of all this there will be a whole range of surprises throughout the evening!

Patterns, prints and colour for men from Laurence Chauvin-Buthaud for LaurenceAirline

Pastels and androgyny from Nana Brenu for Studio 1981

Eco-Luxury Wooden Sunglasses from Nana Osei Boateng for Bohten

Why We’re Involved

When we first met Pinaman we were struck by her enthusiasm – she was so excited to bring the festival to life that you couldn’t help but get excited too, it was infectious. Behind that however was a driving passion to use art to create change.

Pinaman has put all of herself to use in this venture; her knowledge and love of the fashion industry, her prowess as an event manager, her years studying Public Policy and her own personal experiences as an African woman.

The Fashinii is one of our social enterprise blends designed to support special projects

Help Us Help the Festival

Peoples Coffee have developed a bespoke blend specially for the festival; the Fashinii blend.

Meaning ‘fashion’ in the Ethiopian language of Oromo, the Fashinii is a two-bean blend from the Ethiopian regions of Guji and Sidamo with fruity nuances of cranberry and mandarin.

$2.00 from the sale of each bag will go directly to the Festival’s Social Enterprise fund. You can purchase the Fashinii from our online store or at our Flagship cafe in Newtown.

Our Nitro Cold Brew – Fashinii style

We’re incredibly proud to be involved in Wellington’s first Africa Fashion Festival. We’ll be pulling pours of our world famous Nitro (made with the Fashinii blend) for all those lucky enough to have snagged a ticket. There are a VERY limited number of student and GA tickets still available HERE – but get in quick as they won’t last long!

What: Africa Fashion Festival 2016
Where: James Smith Arcade, Cnr Cuba and Manners Streets
When: Saturday 28 May

– Jesse F


May 24th, 2016


Posted In: Africa, CBD, Coffee, Collaboration, Ethiopia, Fair trade, Nitro, Organic, peoplespeople, Social projects, Sustainability, Sustainable, Wellington

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Every 6 months or so the argument surrounding ‘The Price of a Cup of Coffee’ rears it’s ugly head. I can understand why – it pairs two of my very favourite things; coffee and lamenting the fact that it would be foolish to spend my entire paycheque on the stuff. But when we saw *yet another* news paper article outlining why ‘coffee these days is a rip-off’ we decided to use the opportunity to talk more positively about our own story and how, increasingly, personal buying power is determining what constitutes ‘expensive’.

Coffee is a powerful commodity. There is a reason that it is often referred to as ‘black gold’. The women and men at Origin work punishingly long hours planting, cultivating, growing, picking, washing, drying, sorting, preparing and transporting beans for a financial return that often does not reflect production costs. Add to this the world’s increasing demand for high-end ‘specialty’ coffee which requires a massive amount of resources for a comparatively low yield and you begin to understand how difficult it is for a farmer and their family to achieve a good quality of life.

Quality control at the OROMIA coop in Ethiopia – done by hand

Comparing a $3.00 cup of coffee and a $4.50 cup of fair trade, organic coffee is like comparing apples with oranges, sure they’re both fruit but they’re completely different. Let’s say cheap coffee is apples – the right apple is tasty, juicy and just what you want but it’s not an orange and it’s not pretending to be an orange. A cheap coffee, when it’s good, is everything it’s supposed to be and nothing more and that is perfectly fine. But if you want an orange, an apple simply won’t suffice.

New Zealanders are using their buying power more proactively than ever before and for those people who want their morning flat white to count for more, we offer an alternative.

We pay more than most for our Green Beans

We only buy high quality fair trade beans. Why? Primarily because the very best thing about fair trade are the social premiums they provide. We buy every kilo of our coffee over and above the fair trade minimum and approximately $1.32 NZ of that goes directly toward social projects within the co-op. It is earmarked specifically for that purpose and helps improve education, rights for women, infrastructure, healthcare and much more. 

We only source organic beans. Why? Because chemical run-off from non-organic farms is permanently damaging local ecosystems and adversely affecting the health of farmers and their families. Farmers are also rewarded an additional social premium for organic certified beans.

Our head roaster Rene on one of his Origin trips

We only use organic milk. Why? Because it’s better for you and for the animals who produce it and we would rather support independent, sustainable milk producers. It is also sweeter and creamier and compliments coffee so much more than conventional milk.

We only use compostable packaging and cups. Why? Well because the environment is pretty messed up and we owe it to future generations to try and turn things around.

Latte art at Constable Street

When you buy a cup of Peoples Coffee these are just some of the things you are supporting:

At Home
Barista Training at Arohata Women’s Prison
Youth Barista Training at Zeal
Food Hero Rescue at Kaibosh
A whole host of underfunded organisations

At Origin
Campaigns to protect the rights of indigenous farmers
The construction of schools, hospitals, clinics, wells and more
The funding of scholarships and the prioritisation of increased access to education for women

Perfect shots at our flagship cafe in Newtown

At our Constable Street flagship cafe we charge $4.00 for a black coffee and $4.50 for a regular white coffee. We charge an additional 20c for takeaway coffees (unless you have a keep-cup). These prices reflect the reality of what it costs for us to produce a cup of fair trade, organic coffee with a conscience. If we charged less we would be unable to increase the quality of life for our farmers, pay our staff above average wages, use organic milk, give over 500kg’s of coffee away to local groups every year and, in short, we would be unable to do everything that make us who we are.

More than good – people for the common GREAT

So yes, our coffee could certainly be considered expensive. But for our customers the price is worth it when you consider how powerful that cup of coffee can be and at the end of the day it is up to the consumer to decide how to use their dollar.

Buy Coffee. Get Change.

– Jesse F


April 7th, 2016


Posted In: Africa, Auckland, Cafes, CBD, Certifications, Coffee, Constable Street, Cooperatives, Ethiopia, Fair trade, Milk, Organic, peoplespeople, Social projects, Sustainability, Trips, Uncategorized, Wellington

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Kaibosh have a vision: Zero Food Poverty. Zero Food Waste.

It’s simplicity belies the true nature of the work that goes into achieving such a bold campaign, New Zealanders throw away over 122,547 tonnes of food a year, but Kaibosh are equal to the task.

Fresh Broccoli from the Newtown Farmers Market

Founded in 2008 Kaibosh and it’s team of over 100 volunteers ‘rescue’ food from Wellington businesses and provide it to community groups and charities that support people in need.

In the last 12 months they have provided 139,575 kilograms of food (that’s the size of a blue whale) from 31 businesses to 32 local community groups and charities.

Kaibosh by the numbers

The businesses involved are wide ranging; from supermarket behemoth Countdown and food-to-go experts Wishbone to smaller outfits such as Wooden Spoon Boutique Freezery and Astoria Cafe. Check out the full list here.

Newtown and Harbourside Farmers Markets make invaluable contributions over the weekend – ensuring a large supply of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Fruit and vege from the Farmers Markets is an invaluable contribution

Food is collected by the Kaibosh drivers and taken back to HQ (one in the central city and a newly opened hub in Lower Hutt) where it is sorted by volunteers – the game is simple; if YOU would eat it, keep it. If you wouldn’t, throw it in the compost.

We want people to open up their food box and be really happy to find great, fresh food – for it to really brighten their day’ says Driver and Fundraiser Ryan O’Connell of the sorting process.

As well as composting the team send any food that doesn’t make the grade along to Black Sheep Animal Sanctuary for their animal feed.

Happy pig – one recipient of Black Sheep Animal Sanctuary’s animal feed

Recently Kaibosh have teamed up with some like-minded businesses to create the Food Rescue Heroes initiative. Becoming a Hero is as easy as donating from $15 per month to Kaibosh – in return you get a Food Rescue Heroes card with awesome deals all round Wellington, a welcome pack from Peoples Coffee, Wellington Chocolate Factory & Ideal Cup plus invitations to Food Rescue Heroes evenings at Kaibosh HQ.

One of the Food Rescue Heroes Welcome Packs

If you’d like to know more about becoming a Food Rescue Hero or getting involved with Kaibosh, jump onto the Kaibosh website and grab the lowdown.

– Jesse F


February 12th, 2016


Posted In: CBD, Coffee, Collaboration, Fair trade, peoplespeople, Social projects, Sustainability, Sustainable, Wellington

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IMG_9423

2015 has been absolutely mental – we’ve gone from strength to strength and honestly we’re all pretty exhausted! Time for one more quick blog though – we thought ‘Peoples Coffee in Numbers’ was a fun way to end the year.

We were blown away by some of the facts and figures we unearthed, the number of flat whites we made at the Constable Street store was especially staggering. To make it exciting we’ve put everything into this awesome infographic because, let’s be honest, stats can be a little dull…

PC by Numbers

All in all a pretty successful year we think.

Time for a rest and some recuperation (and a couple of sneaky beersies) and then we’ll be ready to take on 2016!

Merry Christmas from all of us, stay safe and happy and we’ll see you all on the flip side 🙂

– Jesse F


December 23rd, 2015


Posted In: Auckland, Cafes, CBD, Coffee, Constable Street, Fair trade, peoplespeople, Social projects, Sustainability, Wellington

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We’ve got a secret. It’s a matter of some excitement and we’re PRETTY amped that we’re finally able to share the news…

This weekend we will be debuting the gorgeous, limited edition, Mish Mash – a Mocha Porter beer we’ve been lucky enough to work on with the Wellington Chocolate Factory and the awesome folk down at Garage Project!

The brew is a one-night-only tipple that has been created specially to celebrate The Free Store‘s 1st Annual fundraiser down at Southern Cross this Sunday.

Quite the formidable team…

Using Peoples Coffee’s darkest roast blend; the Sebastiana Martinez and Dominican Cocoa Nibs from Wellington Chocolate Factory, Garage Project have crafted a bitter-sweet chocolate coffee brew with more kick than you can shake a stick (at).

Our darkest roast is named after a Peoples Coffee legend

Pete Gillespie – now THAT is a beard

To be quite honest my knowledge of the beer brewing process is woefully uninformed so, in order to write this blog, I sat in with Garage Projects Head Brewer (and all-round legend) Pete Gillespie and learnt all about the incredibly involved craft, much of which is not at all unlike the coffee roasting and cupping process.

Two grain varietals – two very different flavour profiles

Step 1: Pick a grain. Grain is ground to an oaty porridge-like consistency above the brewery and piped through to the mash tun, a very big silver goliath which is part of the main brew kit.

Step 2: Mash and Wort. Water is then added to the dry grain to create a mash which is eventually drained to produce what is called the Wort – a sticky sweet liquid that becomes the base of our beer.

Now because we are brewing a small batch beer, the Garage Project team use a smaller brew kit called the Pilot Kit (or ‘Brew Magic’) for the next step in the process. The Pilot Kit is capable of 50 litre brews and was the ORIGINAL Garage brew kit, so it has quite the legacy!

Capturing the Wort run-off

It can be a messy process!

Step 3: Boil time. Now it’s time to get our wort nice and hot (to get rid of any nasties). Sanitisation is one of the most important parts of the brewing process as nasties can destroy an otherwise perfect brew.

Step 4: Adding your hops. Once the wort is at a rolling boil it’s time to add your hops. Our brew only has a small amount of hops in it, just enough to give it a good base. The brew is then boiled for a further 60 minutes. There are many types of hops and other ingredients that can be added at this point; bittering hops, flavouring & aromatic hops, spices and sugar – it all depends on the kind of flavours you want to create.

Step 5: Chill it. The brew is now bought right down in temperature. This is done quite quickly to ensure a good ‘cold break’ which helps with the clarity of the finished product.

Some hops for bitterness and base

Step 6: Fermentaion station. Once the brew has been cooled to around 22 degrees it is transferred over to the fermenter where yeast is carefully added. The brew will begin to ferment 8 – 24 hours after the yeast is added, the length of the fermentation process is dependant on the beer you are trying to craft – ours took around 14 days.

Step 7: Steeping. Now we add the tasty bits! Our Sebastiana and the Chocolate Factory cocoa nibs were placed in muslin cloth and steeped in the fermented brew for some time to allow the flavours to infuse. Much like tea.

Step 8: That’s it! The brew is then essentially done. It is cooled, kegged (or bottled) and ready to drink!

Time for a taste

A huge thanks to the exceptional Benjamin Johnson from The Free Store for asking us to be involved and to Garage Project for doing all the hard work! We are always stoked to be able to work with such brilliant crafters and the Garage & WCF crews are up there with the very best.

Benjamin from the Free Store

The Free Store have organised what is shaping up to be truly the coolest fundraising event you’ve ever seen. According to the Facebook invite I received you’ll need to ‘brace yourself for ear-tingling, foot-stomping musical goodness (from local bands including Miles Calder & the Rumours, Graeme James, Towers and more) and brush up your quizzical skills to take home an epic prize pack’.

Plus of course there’s this fantastic beer AND it’s all for an amazing cause – so theres no excuses for you all not to come along. More details can be found on the event page but the essentials are thus:

Where? Southern Cross
When? 2.30pm Sunday 29 November
Why? To raise money for an awesome cause (and because live music, cool art and epic beer is not to be sniffed at)

See you there!

Jesse F

Photography by Renee Cotton Media


November 25th, 2015


Posted In: Beer, Brewing, CBD, Coffee, Collaboration, Fair trade, peoplespeople, Wellington

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Top10Peoplespeople

As a purpose-driven business, it is important to us to help out those making positive social change in Aotearoa. We love getting involved with as many great initiatives as possible and we’re constantly blown away by how many AMAZING things are happening in our own backyard.

We thought, since the end of the year is careening towards us at breakneck speed, that we would shine a light on a few of the brilliant groups we have been lucky enough to work with in 2015.

And so, without further ado, we present 10 Awesome #peoplespeople Organisations of 2015

Film for Change
Film for Change

Film for Change are a group of collaborative and innovative volunteer film-makers that work with charities to make and distribute short films. They specialise in digital storytelling; the process of making the film helps the groups communicate, and the films they make become a vital tool for their stories. They aim for the process to be beneficial to both parties – the charities get a polished promotional product and the volunteers gain vital industry experience.

Website
Facebook

InsideOUT2
InsideOUT

InsideOUT are a national organisation working work with youth, whānau, schools and communities to make Aotearoa a safer place for all young people of diverse genders and sexualities to live and be in.

Set-up in 2011, the organisation is run almost exclusively by youth volunteers who work tirelessly to lower rates of homophobic, biphoic and transphobic bullying in schools through initiatives like The Day of Silence and Pink Shirt Day (amongst a host of other projects). In 2015 their National Coordinator Tabby Beesley became the first and only New Zealander to receive a Queen’s Young Leader Award for her work with InsideOUT.

Website
Facebook

Lifewise Big Sleepout
Lifewise Big Sleepout

The Lifewise Big Sleepout is a fundraiser to tackle the growing issue of homelessness in Auckland and Rotorua. There are more than 200 people sleeping rough in Auckland’s city centre alone, and thousands of vulnerable people living in unsafe or unsuitable accommodation. Now in its 6th year, the event see’s over 150 influential movers and shakers giving up their home comforts to sleep rough for the night. In 2015 the Sleepout smashed it’s 250K goal collecting $317, 246.80 from over 4000 donors!!

Website
Facebook

JustSpeak
JustSpeak

JustSpeak is a network of young people speaking to, and speaking up for a new generation of thinkers who want change in the criminal justice system. Based on evidence and experience, they seek to create a safer and more just Aotearoa by minimising imprisonment, enabling better rehabilitation for offenders, and focusing on the social problems that lead to offending.

Amongst a host of projects, JustSpeak run a range of events and public forums that are focused on providing an open environment where free and frank conversation can be had on sensitive issues.

Website
Facebook

Free Store
The Free Store

We did a great little blog on The Free Store and all that they do in September but if you missed it, here’s the lowdown:

Opened in 2010, the Free Store is a not-for-profit organisation that redistributes surplus food from over 25 cafes, bakeries and restaurants throughout Wellington. Their small army of volunteers collect the food, transport it to their repurposed shipping container home on Willis Street where, at 6pm, they throw open the doors and serve the food to the masses – completely free of charge. In the last 10 months they have redistributed over 55,000 items of food to, on average, 65 people each night.

Website
Facebook

Enjoy 2
Photo credit Shaun Matthews

Enjoy Art Gallery
Established in 2000, Enjoy Public Art Gallery is a non-commercial artist-run initiative based in Wellington. The gallery is tucked away up a little flight of stairs at 147 Cuba Street and is well worth a visit.

Enjoy is liberated from commercial constraints in order to provide both emerging and established practitioners with opportunities to develop innovative work. They work to provide the necessary critical support, resources, and audience development to realise quality projects in dialogue with contemporary practice both nationally and internationally.

Website
Facebook


The Porirua Peoples Library

The Porirua Peoples Library is a community based art project in association with TEZA, Urban Dream Brokerage and Letting Space. It is an ‘alternative library’, one where the stories of the people of Porirua at at the forefront.

The project looks to enhance the knowledge and unique experiences of individual participants and support them in making their voices and stories, visible and audible, remembered and valued.

Website
Facebook

Kites Trust

Kites – Buddies Peer Support Service

Buddies is a group of volunteers who have an experience of mental distress. Buddies visit people in Te Whare o Matairangi, the recovery unit in Wellington Hospital and support their peers by having conversations and sharing their experience of mental distress and recovery.

Buddies parent organisation Kites Trust work in collaboration with local communities to promote social inclusion using the principles of community development by

  • Encouraging people to define their own problems and issues
  • Involving the skills, knowledge and experience of people with experience of mental distress and addiction issues
  • Promoting collaboration
  • Facilitating local solutions to local problems
  • Creating purposeful conversations and ways of working together
  • Facilitating resolution where there are conflicting interests
  • Engaging in policy development at both community and government levels

Website
Facebook

Zeal
Zeal

Zeal are a family of passionate, creative misfits who believe that every young kiwi is creative and who dedicate their lives to helping them discover, express and develop their unique creativity. Peoples have been working with Zeal to help develop their barista training course. The training has been incredibly successful and has seen Zeal open two espresso bars, Stories and Georgia, in central Wellington. These ‘container-cafes’ are staffed by trainees from the Zeal programme and proceeds are fed back into the organisation to further fund their extensive range of youth projects.

Website
Facebook

Refugee Trauma
Refugee Trauma Recovery

Refugee Trauma Recovery is an organisation dedicated to helping refugees settle into their new life in New Zealand. They offer specialised therapy to former refugees, working with them to rebuild and grow after years of suffering from anxiety or distressing memories, nightmares, insomnia, abuse or other traumatic events.

Since 2013, RTR have run the Annual Refugee Safety & Wellbeing Day. The event is designed to bring families together, and to encourage & empower former refugees to engage with local communities and the services & resources they offer.

Website

 

If you’re interested in being involved with any of these fantastic organisations, please get in touch directly via the Facebook and Website links provided. If you have your very own initiative, organisation, cause or what-have-you and you need a little support get in touch with me (Jesse); info@peoplescoffee.co.nz, and we’ll see what we can do!

– Jesse F


October 30th, 2015


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What. A. Weekend. 

Saturday was the Peoples Coffee/The Ramen Shop Nitro Pop-Up and daaaayum the weather turned it on for us. Clear blue skies, a light breeze (OK a gale force to begin with but it SETTLED in to a light breeze) and some of the best sun we’ve seen in months.

Nitro at rest – beautiful.

Nitro is a pretty new concept for New Zealand. It pours like a pint of Guinness, the coffee being ‘infused’ with nitrogen bubbles, which gives it a thick creamy head. You’d swear it had milk in it but you’d be wrong – it’s just single origin black coffee!

Karaage Chicken ‘n’ Waffles – a sight to behold.

Asher on duty.

We were stoked to have The Ramen Shop on board cooking up their famous Karaage Chicken ‘n’ Waffles and Tofu ‘n’ Waffles. Asher was a blur, moving with super-human speed to keep up with orders – there was a line out the door at one point so safe to say that the waffles were a hit!

Nitro – the perfect summer cool-down.

People are always a little wary of Nitro to begin with, it’s a little bit different, a special breed. A deep love affair is usually bourne from first sip that develops into a long and enduring relationship of respect and admiration. Because delicious.

Nitrogen bubbles mean the brew pours quite fiery.

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As Nitro settles it ‘gradiates’ much like a stout.

Best to drink it before it settles completely – creamier that way!

Can be a little messy for those with a full moustache…

Those of you who missed out on sampling our liquid gold this time around; fear not! Nitro will be making a special, week-long appearance at Stories Espresso Bar on Lower Cuba in early November, so watch this space!

Chopsticks (and fingers) were the weapons of choice for tackling a waffle.

Some of us couldn’t quite get the hang of those fiendish chopsticks…

Overall the day was a big success. The weather was pristine, the Nitro cold and the waffles hot and we managed to raise over $1000.00 for the Red Cross’ Refugee Efforts.

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Jesse F

Photography by Renee Cotton Media


October 13th, 2015


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Lauren TEST 3

We’ve seen some pretty great things happening around the place lately, ambitious individuals making cool stuff happen for those in need or without a voice so we thought we’d start talking about these awesome people; #peoplespeople if you will!

Some of you may know Lauren Tennent from Peoples Constable Street store. Part barista, part pixie, Lauren is famous for serving epic coffee with a grin the size of a half-wheel of cheese.

What you may NOT know about Lauren is that her work outside of Constable Street has made her something of a Peoples legend.

 

Lauren getting her latte on.

Lauren began working with Peoples Coffee towards the end of 2013 and has been instrumental in helping develop the Arohata Project – a Peoples Coffee run programme offering barista training to inmates. As the head trainer and key coordinator for the project, Lauren is a big part of why the initiative has been so successful. Her open, inclusive nature have helped to build trust with both inmates and staff at Arohata and her passion for restoration & rehabilitation for prisoners is pushing the project to new and exciting places.

 

Barista training at Arohata Womens Prison.

Lauren believes the project has national appeal and that it is just the first step in what she hopes will be a shift in thinking toward prisoners in general:

‘The main thing is I’d like to see it as a sustainable, national programme. With real world, transferrable skills, not just coffee but a range of skills. Ideally we’d have communities and cafes onboard who would offer employment. Once people start understanding that prisoners can be and are an equally valuable part in our communities then attitudes will begin to change.”

 

The ‘Let’s Talk About Drugs’ forum was JustSpeak Victoria’s first event.

Arohata, however, is only one of the social justice projects that Lauren is involved with. As the Outreach liaison for the Victoria University branch of JustSpeak, Lauren helps to coordinate events, generate interest and drive the general direction of conversation for the not-for-profit organisation. Their recent forum, focussed on problematic drug use, was about providing an open environment where free and frank conversation could be had on a sensitive issue. Lauren considers the Peoples Coffee sponsored forum a real success and was surprised by the diversity of those in attendance – something she had hoped for but not banked on.

‘It’s what it’s all about; connecting with different people within your community and talking about issues that you can never tackle alone.’

 

Full-house at the forum.

JustSpeak’s next forum on ‘police discretion and how that relates to discrimination within our justice system’ promises to be equally successful with 3 local speakers including Rethinking QSO, Kim Workman.

 

Lauren says her ‘Punishment in Modern Society’ paper has been the most meaningful so far.

Lauren’s commitment to social justice is in part spurred by her studies – she is currently pursuing a degree in Criminology and Psychology at Victoria University which she loves; ‘I’ve been really lucky in that I’ve been able to align my degree with my passions and apply what I’m learning in a real-world context.’

 

Super-hero at ease.

The girl is pretty much a super-hero in my book, though she’d hate me for saying it.

More than anything else Lauren does what she does not because of any great need for recognition but because she generally thinks that things could be better for some people, more even, less harrowing. Which is a pretty cool outlook.

Jesse F


September 18th, 2015


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Last week I took a little trip to the Free Store on the corner on Ghuznee and Willis to take a look at a new venture the fantastic team there have started.

If you haven’t heard of the Free Store before here’s the lowdown: Opened in 2010, the Free Store is a not-for-profit organisation that redistributes surplus food from over 25 cafes, bakeries and restaurants throughout Wellington. Their small army of volunteers collect the food, transport it to their repurposed shipping container home on Willis Street where, at 6pm, they throw open the doors and serve the food to the masses – completely free of charge. In the last 10 months they have redistributed over 55,000 items of food to, on average, 65 people each night.

Managing Director Benjamin Johnson was passionate about creating a space that was ‘by the community, for the community’. It was important to him that The Free Store be as open and accommodating to people from all walks of life – hence why there are no restrictions on who they serve the food to and how much is given – it’s an open, honest space where people take what they need and respect the needs of others.

Recently Benjamin felt that more could be done to create a sense of community for those people frequenting the Free Store and has reached out to several Wellington roasteries in an effort to offer hot coffee for the half hour prior to the store’s opening. Peoples Coffee are sponsoring the Friday night offering and we couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this really great initiative.

People were shy at first but the two young ladies manning the coffee station made them feel at home. Sugar? Milk? No problem and after a bit everyone was chatting and warming up with some Ethipoian Sidamo. The group was really diverse – men, women, students, pensioners and everyone in between – all just trying to keep their head above the tide.

It was pretty cool to witness the coming together of all of these people. Everyone supporting one another, helping each other out. One lovely gent even helped me with this blog by graciously pointing out that I was unlikely to get any particularly good pictures with the lens cap on…

Free Store 5
The thing I came away with is how multi-faceted the Free Store’s ambitions are. They’re working collaboratively to minimise needless waste whilst providing food, coffee & a safe, non-judgemental environment to those who need it most. If you get a chance to pop in and congratulate the team – do it. If you know a cafe or restaurant who you think would like to be involved – do that too! Every little bit really does help these guys make a big difference in a person’s life.

Jesse F


September 3rd, 2015


Posted In: Cafes, CBD, Coffee, Collaboration, Social projects, Sustainability, Uncategorized

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Today I met with Tabby Besley, founder of youth organisation InsideOUT, to talk about their charity exhibition at Matchbox Studios. Some of you might recognise Tabby – she was recently the first (and so far only) New Zealander to be awarded a Queens Young Leader Award for her work with queer youth (she even made a BuzzFeed list of 28 Badass Young People Making The World A Better Place).

InsideOUT are a pretty amazing organisation – they work with youth, whānau, schools and communities to make Aotearoa a safer place for all young people of diverse genders and sexualities to live and be in. Set-up in 2011, the organisation is run almost exclusively by youth volunteers who work tirelessly to lower rates of homophobic, biphoic and transphobic bullying in schools through initiatives like The Day of Silence and Pink Shirt Day (amongst a host of other projects).

InsideOUT aren’t government funded so they’re getting creative with a charity exhibition and auction at Matchbox Studios on Cuba Street this week. More than 40 artists and craftspeople have contributed a wide range of artworks – including paintings, jewellery, sculpture and photographs – and they have been priced to be as affordable as possible with prices ranging from $20 to $400. The artwork is available for purchase from Matchbox throughout the week with the auction kicking off at 6pm on Friday.

The auction is free to attend and anyone can bid. There will be a raffle drawn on the evening with some awesome prizes from local businesses (including some tasty Peoples Coffee!). Tickets for the raffle are only $2 and are available all week and on the night from Matchbox.

Both Tabby and event organiser Vicky Beesley have been completely overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone involved – neither expected to have so many pieces donated (in fact, even as we talked another piece arrived).

With 300 people ‘attending’ on Facebook the auction is shaping up to be a real success. Hopefully InsideOUT can raise a tonne of dough to continue to do the incredibly important work that they do. I know I’ll certainly be there on Friday – I’ve got my eye on a fox holding a balloon…see you there!

Jesse F


August 19th, 2015


Posted In: Activism, CBD, Coffee, Collaboration, Fair trade, Social projects, Uncategorized

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Last week I went to prison.

No really! For a whole hour, to Arohata Womens Prison to sit in on the barista training that Peoples Coffee are offering for inmates. The training, now in it’s second year, is run by Lauren Tennent & Ashley Roper and is designed to provide real, transferable skills outside of the ‘traditional women’s work’ the prison offers.

On arrival myself and the rest of the media team were escorted down to the training room and introduced to the women who are taking part in the programme. The group were in high spirits throughout the visit (though one might suspect it was from the 4+ cups of coffee some of them had had!) and were eager to show us what they’d learnt. We all placed our orders and the ladies jumped to the task – delivering the coffees with surprising efficiency and big smiles. My flat white was great – nice and creamy with a strong finish!

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After our caffeine fix we talked to group about the training – they said it was great to be able to learn new skills that could contribute to a new life when they were released. They were especially grateful to be able to have a cup of ‘real’ coffee as the prison only has instant available “things like good coffee are taken for granted, you don’t get anything like that in here and so to be able to have a cup is a real treat”.

Prison Director Chris Burns was enthusiastic about the project – “we’ve kept the sessions deliberately short so that the women can walk away with something tangible…you’ve only got to feel the vibe in the room to know the positive effect on them”. Arohata and Peoples are hoping to be able to run the programme again sometime next year as the feedback from both inmates and staff has been so positive.

I spoke briefly to one of the women about the course and she told me that the length of the courses was good because some of the inmates had difficulties concentrating for long periods of time “people have bad days and find it hard to be able to stay for a full day”. She said the short burst style of the course combined with the step-by-step process of the coffee-making made it easier for the group to stay focused.

After our chat we got to see the group graduate – all of the ladies were grinning from ear to ear. One of the inmates was particularly excited to show her certificate to her family – “my gran and my mum are really proud of me!”.

Coffee Making Close-up 1 Ashley

Overall I have to say my first trip to prison, whilst nothing like what I expected, was pretty great. I think its fantastic to see these women so eager to learn and grow. They are really hoping to be able to use these skills in the real world and I sincerely hope they get to.

Jesse F


July 24th, 2015


Posted In: Coffee, Collaboration, Fair trade, Social projects

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