business owners, organic growers, homesteaders, but most importantly, we are a family.
”We've aligned our business practices to fit our life and are proud to say we walk the talk - something our customers really love.
We are a family of five living on Cortes Island on the west coast of Canada. In addition to running Gathering Place Trading, we are also organic growers and homesteaders on 22 acres of land. We share this land with three other families in a small community and grow most of our food.
Our story begins fifteen years ago in South Africa
Out for an afternoon jaunt through the countryside in our vintage VW camper van, we got lost and stopped to ask directions. Fate had placed us at the doorstep of the most highly respected Rooibos tea farmers in the region (although we didn’t know that yet!).
We were organic farmers in Canada, and were delighted to stumble upon an organic farm. Directions turned into an offer of tea and being treated to the best cup of tea ever! We found out that the farmers, Frans and Gerda, used special techniques that ensured their Rooibos was of the highest quality. They harvested by hand, fermented in small batches, and then sun dried it. And they’d been doing it this way for the last 50 years!
It didn’t take long for an idea to hatch. What if we tried to sell this incredible tea back home? We offered to import their tea to Canada and they happily accepted. On one condition: they wanted to trade a ton of their tea for our VW camper van (that unbeknownst to us, Frans and Gerda had fallen in love with!).
As our children have grown so has our business!
We’ve added spices, salt, dried fruit, and olives to our list of imports – over 70 tonnes per year in total.
Our three home-schooled kids have always been actively involved in the family business, helping us make decisions and travelling with us to get to know our farmers in other parts of the world. We love working together on our little piece of island, planting, harvesting, preserving, and eating the food we grow.
At Gathering Place Trading, we donate 1% of our profits.
Projects are hand-selected based on need and impact, with our gifts most often supporting the empowerment of girls and women around the world.
Vanashree Residential School for Orphans and Marginalized Children Sagar
Karnataka State, India
This school has a progressive philosophy where each child is seen as whole person and a valuable human being. There is an equal focus on yoga and academics, with special care being taken to develop each child’s unique gifts and passions. We feel blessed to have come across the work of this incredible school and love visiting and interacting with the bright, beaming souls of the children who live there.
Aldea Maya is a non-profit grassroots organization in the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala that assists the indigenous Mayans through education, food sustainability, and nutrition programs.
Child Haven International
Child Haven International is a registered, not for profit charity inspired by the philosophy of Mahatma Ghandi. They offer food, education, health care, shelter and clothing, and emotional support to children and women in developing countries.
Help Lesothu in Africa develops holistic, innovative programs that empower children and youth to heal, learn new skills and strategies, and be advocates for social justice and gender equity.
The Raincoast Research Society
The Raincoast Research Society in British Columbia, Canada, is doing important research into wild versus farmed salmon.
Surfriders’ mission is to protect our oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network. Surfrider is formed by a group of paddlers, surfers, students, teachers, professionals, young and old. Together, Surfrider is is working to keep Vancouver Island a special place.
Our friend Shani of hOMe Grown Living Foods catered the meals for this rookie crew of sailors who embarked as volunteers on the Surfrider Remote Beach Clean up. Gathering Place was proud to donate our nourishing snacks to help keep the volunteers fueled.
On this remote beach clean-up an entire semi-truck trailer of trash was removed from the beaches of Nigei island.