As another challenging year draws to a close, we wanted to reflect and share some of our progress and good news stories from 2021 because, now more than ever, we all need some good news!
Before we get into it, we’d like to start with a huge thanks to YOU for continuing to support our small, local organisation throughout the year. As a social enterprise, the more support we receive, the more impacts we are able to make towards climate, economic and social justice.
While we may simply be roasting coffee, preserving food and planting trees, we're also building a movement of like-minded people working towards to a more sustainable and just world. We are so grateful that you’re a part of it.
Now let’s get into the fun stuff!
- Raising US$115,000 for flood relief in Timor-Leste
- Constructing flagship preserving hub in Metinaru (Dili)
- Roasting 12.5 tonne of specialty coffee
- Planting and nurturing 22,541 trees in Baguia through WithOneSeed
- Andrew being appointed Honorary Consul for Timor-Leste in Victoria
- Alice speaking at Governor House
- Offsetting 100 tonnes of carbon - double our yearly footprint
- Saving 8.5 tonne of produce through preserving
$115K for Flood Relief
Over the 2021 Easter weekend Timor-Leste was hit by Cyclone Seroja, with rain, storms and flash flooding causing devastating destruction, displacement and loss of life across the country. To make matters worse, the floods struck during lockdown, forcing people to abandon their homes for crammed refuge centres which resulted in growing infection numbers.
Together with xpand Foundation and Tradewinds, we were able to raise US$115,000 in donations which helped provide 4000 sacks of rice plus other urgent food, water, water filters, medical supplies and electricity to communities in remote and rural areas. It also covered the repair of three roads and two bridges in Baguia, where many of our farmers reside.
As grateful communities continue to rebuild, we are shifting our focus to more long-term strategies surrounding food security and clean drinking water to help combat climate change and minimise the chance of further freak weather events for future generations.
Flagship Dili Hub
One of our favourite stories for the year was the construction and opening of our flagship Dili hub, whose mission is to facilitate meaningful employment and ensure communities have access to nutritional food year round. Since opening, the first-of-its-kind facility has been used for coffee roasting and preserving of vanilla, turmeric, pineapple, tomatoes and other locally grown products.
Construction is still underway for the adjacent training centre which, once open early next year, will welcome Timorese women from all around Timor-Leste to live on site and learn skills around food preservation and regenerative agriculture. These women will then take these skills back to their communities to make an income via food and agriculture micro loans. We couldn’t have done it without our Timorese leaders Dina, Enny, Nella and Gotys!
12.5 Tonne of Coffee
In a year of uncertainties, we wanted to fulfil our commitment to our Timorese coffee partners who depend on our business, by placing our coffee order and following through with our upfront payment schedule. We are proud to say we achieved this goal, importing coffee from 368 farming families across 12 sucos (villages) from the Ermera region.
Back here in Melbourne, Jake and Daiki roasted 12.5 tonne across the year which filled your cups in our cafe, fuelled your home offices and spread the love through hundreds of care packages.
Aside from making good on our coffee order, another goal was to help farmers secure further income streams through diversifying their crops. Enter vanilla! Over the last couple of years we’ve worked with our coffee farmers to help them plant a variety of new crops that can be preserved and shipped to us in Melbourne. After our entire shipment was destroyed over a paperwork issue last year, this was the first year we’ve successfully imported cured vanilla pods and we can guarantee you’ve never tasted vanilla like it!
22,541 Trees Grown
Our dedication to carbon drawdown through reforestation has never been stronger than in 2021. For every kilo of coffee we roast, we plant and nurture a tree through the WithOneSeed community forestry program. The WithOneSeed difference is that it pays tree farmers to not just plant, but actually nurture and grow trees across their lifetime.
This year WithOneSeed implemented TreeO2, a unique community forestry technology that allows real time tracking of over 250,000 trees currently under management. Through the TreeO2 platform people can 'adopt' trees and see where their trees are planted, learn about the farmer caring for them and over time watch them grow. Any time you adopt trees through us now, you’ll have access to your own portal in Tree02 to track your trees over time - pretty exciting stuff!
Andrew's Diplomatic Appointment
It was a proud moment for all of us when Andrew was appointed Honorary Consul of Timor-Leste to the state of Victoria. The role acknowledges his ongoing work to strengthen communities and industry within Timor-Leste with a particular focus on reforestation, food security and self-sufficiency over aid. By setting up a number of social enterprise businesses in Timor-Leste over the last 18 years, Andrew has made real impacts across the country, particularly in rural and remote areas. We are so excited to see what more he can achieve in his new role.
Alice in Canberra
Alice kicked off the year by winning the Sustainability Leadership Award at the Sir John Monash Awards, which recognises those who have contributed to a more sustainable Monash through programs and initiatives that lead to positive changes.
Fast forward a few months and she was being invited by His Excellency the Honourable Governor-General of Australia, David Hurley AC DSC, to the Global Foundation Canberra Roundtable at Government House, Yarralumla. She was amongst forty guests from diverse backgrounds chosen to discuss Australia’s identity and longer-term strategy in a global context. The overarching view of the day was that we cannot begin to embrace any type of strategy until we are prepared to face and acknowledge the truth of our history with First Nations peoples. You can read about it here.
Olive Oil Harvest
No amount of lockdowns, event changes or winter chills could stop our first ever olives to oil event! Although downsized from a full blown ‘olive festival’ to a simple ‘olive dropoff’, our community managed to collectively drop off 6.6 tonne of olives across all locations - that’s equivalent to a large male elephant! The olives were sent to our friends at Barfold Olives to get pressed into fresh oil before being collected by donors to be enjoyed at home. Given the raging success of the initiative, we hope to run it again in 2022.
THANKS A MILL!
Phew! We managed to make it through an entire year’s summary without mentioning the dreaded “C” word. Here’s hoping that we can bring you even more good news stories in 2022. We look forward to your ongoing support to help us make an even bigger impact on a local and global scale.
From everyone at The Corner Store Network, we wish you a safe and happy New Year and summer break. We’ll be back in the cafe on Tuesday 4th January, with opening hours for the month changing to 9am to 12pm Monday through Saturday. Online orders will be shipped out daily so you can purchase at ant time.
Thanks again and take care.
Andrew, Alice, Jake, Kathy, Daiki & Michelle.