Since 2010 Jacob and Emily Parsons have been travelling to Uganda, East Africa to pioneer the construction of concrete water tanks in remote villages. Jacob also runs the New Lynn-based coffee company Mt Atkinson Coffee Roasters, so he always tacks on coffee research while in Uganda.
Uganda is a remarkable country but is still ranked very low on the human development index. One major issue they face is a high rate of infant child mortality - over ten times that of New Zealand. This is even higher in rural areas like Kanungu, a very remote sub-county in the west of Uganda bordering the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, home to the endangered mountain gorillas.
On their 2017 trip Jacob and Emily and their two young children travelled to Kanungu to meet with Gerald Mbabazi who runs a company called Gorilla Summit Coffee. Gerald and his team have a mission: to use their coffee business to transform their community. They are actively involved in initiatives such as:
· Maternity clinics in remote areas.
· Solar panels for coffee growers' houses.
· Funding education for children.
· Mosquito nets for coffee growers' families.
These practical initiatives raise the quality (and length) of life for over 1,800 coffee growers and their families. Gerald actively works with these growers using sustainable methods that result in better yields and higher quality coffee. As a result, Gorilla Summit achieved cupping* scores well into the speciality coffee range (85 and over), adding internationally recognised value. Quality of this level means premium prices can be paid, doubling the incomes of these otherwise vulnerable families.
*Cupping is the international practice of observing the tastes and aromas of brewed coffee for quality.
Supporting the transformation of lives such as the families in Kanungu remains a core driver of Mt Atkinson coffee's vision. When Jacob met Gerald, a genuine friendship was born; on hearing his story and visiting the coffee growers in their homes, a partnership was created.
On that trip Jacob asked Gerald how they could best help, and his reply was simple: “Buy our coffee”. So they did. In December 2018 they landed their first container of coffee directly from these farmers. It was no easy mission to export from Uganda and import through New Zealand’s strict bio security standards.
But they did it!
For Jacob it’s a dream come true to be serving coffee that directly contributes to a community’s transformation. As he says, “When you buy a coffee it changes your day; when you buy a Mt Atkinson direct trade coffee it changes their day as well”.
Mt Atkinson coffee is supplied to several local cafes, including The Wardroom and The Tannery. It is also available to purchase online at www.mtatkinson.co.nz
With solid foundations learnt while working in a leading Central Auckland hotel, and several high-quality cafes in Melbourne and Auckland, Chef Nicola Donald opened The Wardroom Coffee & Kitchen in 2016. It’s probably the best kept secret in the West: A little café pleasantly tucked away in a quiet corner of Totara Ave, right in the heart of New Lynn, its unassuming air barely hinting at the wonders within.
A family-run business with an all-girl crew (including her mum), Nicola makes everything from scratch, fresh on-site, using only the best quality ingredients available. Each day the huge cabinet is filled with fresh seasonal salads, savoury items and homemade pies, along with delectable old-school baking just like Nan used to make; home-made custard slice, Sally Lunn buns, chewy ginger kisses sandwiched with delicious buttercream… complemented by local coffee from Mt Atkinson Coffee Company and a Harney & Sons tea selection.
Too busy to cook?
Nicola also keeps a freezer stocked with ready-made meals which are perfect if you’re too busy to cook, or a great gift for a new mum or sick friend. Popular favourites are classic smoked fish pie, hearty lamb shanks with creamy mash and veges, and Mum’s macaroni cheese – and there’s so much more!
An extensive catering menu is available online, for every occasion imaginable, as well as ‘grazing tables’ which are the latest thing in casual catering.
Have a Gourmet Christmas – at home!
Christmas is all about spending time with loved ones, relaxing and enjoying delicious food – not stressing in the kitchen all day! Back by popular demand is Nicola’s mouth-watering Christmas menu. There’s something for everyone, and nearly all the work is done for you! All you need to do on Christmas day is cook the meat and assemble the sides – recipes and instructions included. Pick up on Christmas eve, or delivery can be arranged. See the menu selections to the right, and get in early to avoid disappointment.
“Blokes and their sheds”. It’s an iconic Kiwi vision. But in a few short generations we have gone from being famous for our number 8 wire, DIY attitude towards fixing and making stuff, to being largely unskilled. Instead of fixing or making things at home, we replace them or hire a professional.
As people retire there’s often downsizing involved, and the smaller, ‘maintenance free’ properties rarely have room for basic tools, let alone a workbench. It’s often underestimated how important pottering around in a shed with tools and having a project is for a person who’s been active in this way their whole life, and they suddenly find themselves with little to do.
Shed Matters is a group which aims to provide a space for those who have no access to tools to be able to use or hire them, and continue to be active. It also aims to be a place where creating, building and repairing skills are passed on ... come along if you have the skills or would like to learn the skills.
Wider engagement in the community is also part of the vision as groups from Shed Matters offer help for local projects, families and individuals.
In a nutshell, Shed Matters hopes to achieve:
• Continued participation in our community by older age group
• Transference of skills and knowledge
• Building of community through friendship
• Provide practical help to local community
Currently Shed Matters is a core group with a great idea. They are looking for people who want to be involved at any level, and are holding an initial public meeting to share the vision and gauge interest. If you would like to be part of this great initiative, please make sure to come along. If you can’t make it on the day, you can register your interest, contact details below.
Photos courtesy of Rob Bialostocki
New Lynn gained a new regular community event with the debut last month of the monthly Fresh Finds market.
The market is a positive collaboration between Rampant Coffee partners Gina Thomas and Shane Radcliffe, and the New Lynn Community Centre. Their dream is to create a community-focused market to invigorate a very under-activated part of New Lynn - showcasing fresh produce, food stalls, crafts, entertainment, kids’ activities, homemade, handmade, organic and natural products, whilst connecting extended communities within the Whau.
Gina says, ““We want to bring back the essence of the marketplace; the people, the connections; amalgamate ideas. Sure, we all want to be successful and be profitable, but the real satisfaction for us is the power in connecting with others”.
With over forty unique vendors at the first Fresh Finds market in New Lynn, the event had a wonderful feel-good atmosphere, with delicious food, fabulous crafts and other items for sale, and great entertainment for kids and adults alike. The market is on the second Saturday of each month, so put a ring around these dates: 12th October, 9th November and 14th December.
So let’s meet, eat, and repeat, community!
Most of us get up from sitting and walk without thinking about how we do it. Walking is automatic!
But for children with Cerebral Palsy (CP) and similar mobility issues, this is nigh impossible. Disorders such as CP affect the development of movement and posture, as a result of damage to the fetal or infant brain.
Around New Zealand, Lions Clubs are doing something to help. With the aid of a wonderful device called a Hart Walker, many CP children are enabled to stand up and move around by themselves. The simple act of standing upright instead of confinement to a bed or wheelchair helps the child’s body to develop in a remarkable way; internal organs are able to function better, and the lungs open up for efficient breathing, which increases the oxygen supply to the brain.
Specialists from the Lions Clubs Child Mobility Foundation (CMF) assess the children referred to them, and if viable, are set on the path to obtaining a Hart Walker. The CMF team of trustees oversees the co-ordination of applicants, hiring contracted specialist orthotists and physiotherapists to examine the child, and fit and adjust the Hart Walkers.
The cost of the Hart Walkers, including adjustments as the child grows, is around $10,000. Funding comes from many sources, but NZ Lions Clubs CMF are the catalysts, with Lions Clubs providing hands-on fundraising assistance to parents and caregivers.
CMF raises awareness each October with the ‘Walktober’ event, encouraging NZ Lions Clubs and supporters to organise events such as walks, BBQs, and cake stalls etc to raise the profile of the cause, as well as the vital funding.
Your local Lions Club ‘Walktober’ event is the Blockhouse Bay-Lynfield’s Fun Walk, from 9am on Sunday 20th October 2019 at Blockhouse Bay Primary School. Go to www.bhbl-lions.org/walktober for details and register.
Community Groups – The challenge is on!
Community groups such as scouts, schools and churches are challenged to enter teams and get behind this worthy cause. One school has already entered, and an anonymous funder has offered sponsorship for four teams of five people, which if it doesn’t get taken up will be donated directly to the cause.
Lydia still loves coming to the Hair-Raising Hat Party. During her childhood, she and her family would dress up and head off to the annual event at Blockhouse Bay Baptist Church.
“I loved everything about the evening; the games, the food, the loot bags, the fun competitions and hanging with my friends and family having such a great time. At home, in the weeks leading up to the party, we’d have fun planning together as a family and making our hats.”
Years on, Lydia and her friend Anna are just two of the many volunteers that will be working together to make the 19th Hat Party a fun event for 4 – 14-year-olds.
As more families join the community, many are discovering the Hat Party for the first time. Some choose to come dressed in a family theme, while others sport individual amazing hats or fancy hairdos. Prizes are awarded across all the age groups for individual hats and hairdos, with a separate family category. Come and join Lydia and Anna at this year’s Hair-Raising Hat Party – mark the date in your diary now and start getting creative.
Thursday 31 October. 5.45 - 8pm
Blockhouse Bay Baptist Church
$2 per child donation ($5 max per family)
Enquiries 626 6980 or www.baybaptist.org.nz
We've made some positive strides recently, virtually eliminating single-use plastic bags in supermarkets in New Zealand but we still have a long way to go. What about all the plastic packaging that almost every product on the shelves of every grocery store comes in?
It’s so frustrating to purchase those essential items, bring them home in a re-usable bag, only to then have to strip them of plastic wrappers before using them.
GoodFor is a package-free lifestyle grocery store which has recently opened inside LynnMall, right next to Countdown. With three other stores in Ponsonby, Parnell and Takapuna, the company exists to help aid in the clean-up of our beautiful planet and make sustainable shopping easier for the everyday consumer.
In-store is a package-free shopping experience where you can bring in your own re-usable packaging (such as jars and containers), weigh your containers on the scales to tare the weight, grab a pencil to jot down the product code and then fill up as much or as little as you like.
And if you forget your own packaging, you can use GoodFor’s brown paper bags or purchase bottles and jars in-store.
They have all the pantry essentials like rice, grains, spices, baking ingredients, confectionery, muesli etc., as well as liquids on tap such as honey and olive oil, shampoo and cleaning detergents.
And that’s not all; kombucha and cold brew coffee is also on tap! And speaking of coffee, there’s also a grinding station where you can re-fill your Allpress, Supreme, Kokako or Ozone coffee beans.
The New Lynn store is also the first to have a flour mill where customers can mill grains into flour, ensuring freshness and longevity.
GoodFor is committed to sustainability and keeping the planet healthy. Through the organisation ‘Trees for the Future’ they are able to ensure a tree is planted every time someone shops with them.
The New Lynn store is open seven days: