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Fundraising project grounded in sustainability


There’s much more to a cup of coffee than meets the mouth for St Mary’s Memorial School students Archie, Ava and Grace.

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The Year 6 students are part of the Glenelg school’s Hope Beans project which involves selling ethically-sourced coffee beans to raise money for the Hutt St Centre.

Initiated by teacher Mark Nelson, who started a similar enterprise while working at a school in China, the project also gives students skills and experience in running a business.

The bags of ground or whole coffee beans and boxes of pods are roasted by Monastery Coffee which uses Intersection Traders – a small, local business working with coffee producers in Uganda.

Working with researchers at universities in Australia, Uganda and the Netherlands, Intersection Traders has trialled and implemented a contracting approach that allows coffee pickers and growers to be involved in a transparent, higher paying and quality-focused harvesting program.

Sold online, the 250g bags and pod boxes are $16 and $18 respectively, with $5 going towards the Hutt St Centre to support its services for the homeless.

The school is also in the process of starting a business relationship with Flinders Medical Centre Research Foundation to use Hope Beans to raise funds for palliative care.

Ava’s role in the Hope Beans group, which meets every Monday lunchtime in the library, is sales manager. Her business objective is to find five regular buyers of the coffee and she has already obtained three.

“I also talk to the graphic designer and help make the flyers to send out with the newsletter,” she explained.

“And we promote it on Facebook and Instagram.”

Grace is the events coordinator and recently helped organise the launch of Hope Beans at the school, which featured on Channel 7 News, and a presentation to Flinders Medical Centre Research Foundation.

Archie said people who sampled the coffee at the launch said it was “really tasty” and “the best they’d ever had”.

Another important part of the group’s work was designing a logo. After a few attempts and some input from Mr Nelson, the group came up with a bright, “beachy” theme.

Mr Nelson said he hoped other schools might come on board and replicate the project.

“It’s a great way of raising money and helping farmers who produce the coffee to have a better life,” he said.

“At the same time it’s providing the students with business skills.”


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