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.
The Gathering Place story begins in South Africa in 2003.
Out for an afternoon drive through the countryside in our vintage VW camper van, we got lost. Although we didn’t know it yet, fate had placed us at the doorstep of the region’s most respected Rooibos tea farmers.
The farmers, Frans and Gerda, shared directions and offered us a cup of tea. It was the best cup of tea we had ever had! They had been harvesting by hand, fermenting in small batches, and sun drying their Rooibos for over 50 years.
We were so blown away by the quality and care that Frans and Gerda put into their work that we asked if we could import their tea to Canada. They happily accepted, but on one condition. They wanted to trade a ton of their tea for our VW camper van. And just like that, Gathering Place Trading was born.
As our children have grown so has our business.
We’ve added over 50 products to our list of imports – over 70 tonnes per year in total.
As a family, we’ve travelled around the world to get to know our farmers. These excursions have helped deepen the values that we embed into our family and our business.
At Gathering Place Trading, we donate 1% of our total sales.
In each community that we source products from, we hand-select projects to support. These initiatives are based on need and impact, and most often support the empowerment of girls and women in those communities.
Below is a list of our ongoing projects.
Children’s Forest Trust Cortes Island
Their Future Today – Sri Lanka
Raven Legal Defence Fund
Madagascar School Project – Madagascar
Cortes Island Projects
Vanashree School for Orphans and Marginalized Children Sagar