Lee and Norm Palumbo
Humans of Woodlea

Lee and Norm Palumbo

Making the world a better place, both locally and globally

Lee and Norm on making the world a better place, both locally and globally


Lee and Norman Palumbo need no introduction to the community of Aintree. Selfless and humbly generous, this power couple and their work alongside We Love Aintree has become a back bone of the community. 


What you may not know about Lee and Norm is their inspiring story that led them to where they are today. 13 years ago, Lee and Norm opened a Fair Trade gift store in Sunbury, Just Planet, with the motivation to ‘raise awareness of how we can all bring change to communities by making great choices about the things we buy.’ Little did they know that they would begin to quite literally change the world one coffee at a time.



Embracing the pivot of modern business, when their gift store began to slow down, Lee and Norm opened their coffee roastery as a way to continue to support impoverished communities. Meeting their eagerness to roast fair trade coffee was the high demand from the Sunbury community, along with cafe owners wanting to stock their beans. 

Just Planet is part of the fairtrade movement which has successfully funded the building of roads and infrastructure, schools and teacher housing in Papua New Guinea, in an effort to support the education of the country’s younger generation. In Honduras, Just Planet coffee bean sales have contributed to the building of four mobile hospitals which help 18,000 people a month. This is just a snapshot of what buying fairtrade does.


Whilst seeing such continued success and growth in this market over the years, beautifully spirited with passion for change, Norman admitted…

‘if every coffee shop became fair trade and if what we did became the norm, we’d be totally happy with that.’ 


With a mantra that ‘business should be about community first,’ Lee and Norman are a representation of the positive change that can be made when businesses stand for more than just making money. 


Moving to Aintree two and a half years ago to manage Aintree Garden and Cafe was a no-brainer for the couple who are passionate about creating belonging-ness within communities through business. 



Aiding the importance they place on sourcing locally grown produce for Aintree Garden and Cafe is Lee and Norm’s personal joy in growing food. Whether that means filling their pantry with home grown olives or baking bread with their granddaughter; it is getting people around the table for food that the Palumbo’s love most. 

Delighted by spending quality time with their granddaughter who lives with them, COVID-19 did not crush the spirit of Lee and Norm. ‘It taught us to slow down,’ Lee reflected as she spoke of the enjoyment they found in exploring their neighbourhood more, the parks and wildlife alike.


Lee and Norm’s story is part of Humans of Woodlea, an initiative by the fully integrated master planned community as a means of highlighting the unique stories of its residents whilst showing its diversity and spirit.