This month our Meet The Maker Interview is with Lovena Harvey, the CEO of Gathering Place Trading, an incredible direct fair trade, BC-based, family run importer who sources products grown with sustainable earth-friendly practices. Lovena works primarily from home on Cortes Island, where her home office overlooks their garden. The Gathering Place Trading warehouse and packaging facilities are located in downtown Campbell River on Vancouver Island, and they have an incredible team of international staff who hand package each and every product they produce.
AND their full line of products is 15% off throughout May 2020!
Gathering Place Trading Mini Interview
Share your story with us in a 150 words or less.
My partner Ryan and I founded Gathering Place Trading in 2003 upon returning from a trip to South Africa that changed our life’s direction. As we toured the country 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. Upon drinking their phenomenal Rooibos and learning of the integrity and sustainability of the farm, we decided to import their tea to Canada. They agreed with one condition, they wanted to trade a tonne of their tea for our VW camper van! That unconventional ‘trade’ was the foundation of our family business
Over the following 17 years, we have travelled in search of the most nourishing organic ingredients – spices, sea salts, teas and snacks – that our customers can trust as the very best. Sourcing from family farms is our passion and finding ones with the highest ethics, quality and fairness are our company pillars. .
Getting from an idea to a small business is a lot of work! When did it first sink in for you that ‘this is really happening’?
When that first tonne of Rooibos showed up and I had to become a salesperson – it was a steep learning curve! I have felt this same feeling over the years in times of growth and change, like now in this time of global pandemic/re-awakening of humanity. It’s a good reflection for living in the moment. If ‘this is really happening’, how can I live and be my best right now?
Out of all your products, which is your personal favourite and why?
This is a hard question! With 70 products my favourite always changes. Right now I’m using a lot of our Canadian Grown culinary herbs with so much cooking going on in our household of 6 adults! Our Italian and Poultry spice blends as well as oregano, thyme, rosemary and dill are my biggest go to’s. We have the fresh herbs beginning to come out of the garden, but having them dried and ready to go in my spice drawer is a real treat!
What motivates you on a day-to-day basis?
Being grateful. The things I feel most grateful for (aka biggest motivators):
1. My family - being a mama of three young adults and having a loving partner.
2. The privilege of living in nature and growing an abundance of food
3. Ability to have livelihood and personal balance
What’s your favourite thing about the town or city you live in?
Access to nature. Cortes Island has pristine wilderness, intact ecosystems, amazing ocean playgrounds, forests with trails and an awesome array of wildlife including my personal favourite – whales!
Describe your ideal Sunday morning, including your breakfast.
A bit of a sleep in, quiet morning time for yoga and meditation and then a big family brunch. My favourite is a farm fresh breakfast: eggs, wild mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, new potato hash browns, homemade sourdough bread. All with a sprinkle of our Sea Salt with BC wildcrafted kelp!
What are your personal top three tips for feeling awesome?
1. Exercise every day – no excuses!
2. Get grounded and grateful.
3. Feel love and compassion for those you share your life with.