Dukale’s Dream: Friendship, Fair Trade Coffee & Climate Change

Dukale and Hugh Jackman planting coffee trees (photo courtesy: New York Daily News).

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, June 4th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) – When Actor Hugh Jackman was invited by the UN to speak during Climate Week NYC in 2009 he told the audience of world leaders that the hero of his story is a young farmer named Dukale from the southern district of Ethiopia — the birthplace of coffee. Dukale not only inspired Jackman to be passionate about fair trade coffee but his livelihood taught Jackman how to produce great tasting coffee in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

Invited as World Vision Ambassador Jackman had traveled with director Josh Rothstein to Ethiopia six years ago. The film entitled Dukale’s Dream — which is scheduled to premiere today (June 4th) at SVA Theatre in NYC — documents the friendship that subsequently launched Laughing Man Coffee & marketplace promoting fair trade coffee and tea from around the world including directly from Yirgacheffe Union, the Co-op that Dukale belongs to.

“Dukale has a zero carbon footprint. And it’s humbling,” says Jackman in the documentary feature. Observing the ethically responsible manner in which coffee is grown at Dukale’s farm, with limited resources, Jackman adds: “We need to take a leaf out of their book to be honest. And I’m sure a lot of people in the West can learn a lot. It’s not just about profits; It’s about how can we develop and yet still sustain the planet.”

The message of Dukale’s Dream is timely as Shift Magazine recently published a highlight of the top 10 countries affected by climate change with Ethiopia on the list. The majority of the country’s population works as small-scale and subsistence farmers and they are the ones who would be the most vulnerable and affected by harsh changes in climate. Dukale’s Dream depicts how small but significant changes in lifestyle, such as using a methane gas converter instead of firewood, can reduce deforestation as well as one’s carbon footprint and provide a better environment for current and future generations. Jackman also shares the importance of empowering women in the decision-making process both at home and on the farm in creating sustainable community development programs, and highlights how Dukale and his wife Adanech work as partners.

Following his speech at Climate Week NYC Jackman was propelled to promote his vision that development should not be synonymous with aid or giving a handout. Rather the focus should be in giving individuals a hand-up, opening doors, and providing opportunities for fair trade products to enter the world market. Jackman returned to NYC and launched Laughing Man Coffee & Tea where the best selling fair trade coffee is named Dukale’s Dream. A 100% of the profits of Laughing Man Foundation go to support educational programs and community development programs.

Dukalesdreamcoffee
(Photo Courtesy: Mary’s Cup of Tea online)

Asked what he has taken away from making Dukale’s Dream, director Josh Rothstein shares his hope that “the story can spark an interest in development and direct trade.” He adds:  “Maybe the largest takeaway is that viewers and customers are sort of the same thing. By that I mean that every person who sees the film will leave the theatre and think about their next purchase. I am interested in giving viewers the idea that their everyday purchases can have a large impact on the lives of people and the climate. To that end, there is a connectivity, a nurturing, the sense of empathy and compassion for individuals who live very far apart. I’m hoping our viewers will also be moved. I think that is a key ingredient for our survival.”

The theatrical release of Dukale’s Dream is scheduled for June 6th in New York, New Jersey, DC, Miami, Atlanta and Los Angeles. It will be released on video on demand on July 14th.

You can watch the trailer of Dukale’s Dream below:

and purchase Dukale’s fair-trade coffee at Laughing Man

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