Happy 20th Anniversary to us!
It all began in 2003 in South Africa, when we out for an afternoon drive through the countryside in our vintage VW camper van and 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 – the best Rooibos we had ever tasted! We were so blown away by the quality of the tea and the care of the Earth by these farmers 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.
This first travel adventure story has led to many more. One of the things that sets us apart from our competition is that we actually meet our farmers and suppliers face-to-face, get to know their farming practices, and then share those stories with you! Some of our best memories of raising our three kids over these last two decades has been travelling with them and being inspired together by the sustainable ways our farmers are caring for the Earth.
Given the climate crisis, we’re proud to tell you that every single one of our family and cooperative farms are committed to growing food in an ethical way. Their regenerative practices—organic growing, crop rotation, harvesting rainwater, and much more—work to combat climate change in all the places our food is grown. Each of our products is sourced directly from the countries with optimal growing conditions and are hand selected for quality, ethical sourcing, and sustainability. For example, our paprika comes from Spain, our cardamom from Honduras, our pepper and clove from Sri Lanka, and our turmeric and ginger from Southern India.
We started the business on Cortes Island with a single product and a working space that was the size of a hobbit house to over one hundred products and a large commercial space in Campbell River. We continue to grow ethically and sustainably, now reaching nationwide distribution and happily expanding into independent natural food stores in every community.
We’re honoured to share certified organic, non-GMO, sustainably produced products with you and to support the communities around the world where are products are grown. We give back 1% of our gross sales to hand-selected projects in developing countries that support women and children. And in Canada, these monies go to the preservation and protection of our pristine BC coast.
Over the last 20 years, the good work we are doing for the Earth, for underfunded initiatives, and for rural farmers around the world has been incredibly inspiring and fulfilling. Thank you for being with us on this journey!