Two female-owned BC food businesses: A Culinary Collaboration

Two female-owned BC food businesses: A Culinary Collaboration

When Gathering Place founder Lovena Harvey and home Grown Living Foods founder Shani Cranston first met in 2015, both felt an instant connection. “Lovena felt like a long-lost sister,” says Shani, who laughs remembering how their friendship began by nerding out on sauerkraut.

Over the last seven years, both their friendship and their business relationship have grown. Monthly check-in calls and mutual mentorship have led to an intertwining of their companies. Shani’s business exclusively uses Gathering Place sea salt and spices in all of her organic, sprouted, low-carb pantry staples, snacks, and baking mixes.

“Gathering Place spices and salt take all of our products to the next level,” says Shani. “We use everything we can.” In fact, when Gathering Place introduced their most recent line of spices, Shani actually invented a new cracker recipe to use them! The result? A scrumptious U-Bake Keto Spicy Cracker mix with Gathering Place smoked paprika, smoked chili flakes, onion powder, and garlic powder.

Shani launched hOMe Grown Living Foods after being was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. As an avid surfer,  she couldn’t find healthy snacks that would keep her blood sugar stable and decided to meet her own “inner alchemy” needs. She was catering international wellness retreats at the time and began sharing her dehydrated granola and other snacks with retreat participants. They were such a big hit that soon other people wanted in on the goodness, and her product line quickly expanded.

Ten acres of forested land in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island is home to Shani, her life and business partner Willy McBride and their very cool manufacturing facility, built out of shipping containers! All their products are gluten, grain and dairy-free and handcrafted in small batches. Utilizing the power of slow dehydration, plus nut and seed germination, this is a company that cares deeply about quality and optimal human health. 

Shani loves working from home and balancing her entrepreneurial life with lots of gardening, surfing, qigong, and yoga. And with names like Sunflower Dill RAWgles, Seaweed Surf Snax, and Sprouted Savoury Vegan Cheeze, it’s obvious that Shani has a lot of fun inventing and naming her delicious creations!

She also loves connecting with her customers and offers special incentives for direct sales. “I prefer it when people buy direct from us,” says Shani. “This way I can get to know our customers and start real conversations.”

When you look at the values that are at the heart of both Gathering Place and hOMeGrown Living Foods, it’s no wonder that these two companies are doing such beautiful business together. Direct sourcing from family farms, environmental integrity, giving back to local communities, and a commitment to offering high quality, pure, whole foods to their customers.

Here’s to a long life for this very special and synergistic relationship!

Written by Gathering Place’s Writer/Editor-in-Chief Renée Hartleib
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