Gather By came together in 2014 as a food security initiative, and has evolved to become a stakeholder-centred business that supports the health of our environment, our bees, our beekeepers and our farmers who are sustainably producing medicinal and therapeutic Australian Manuka.
‘When we started researching how we could improve food security and in turn help bees to thrive, we discovered that Australia has at least 15 native varieties of Leptospermum plants that produce the nectar that bees turn into Manuka Honey. Manuka Honey, as we knew it then, came from New Zealand, so it was a surprise to find that Australia has many more native varieties of these plants than our neighbours,’ said Matt Blomfield, CEO of Gather By.
‘From this we had the idea to create a sustainable business exploring how we could work with these plants, and with nature, to create sustainable places for bees to thrive. Farming has traditionally meant stripping the land of natives and monocropping, which has negative impacts on soil quality, bees and wildlife – as we all know too well – and we realised that we could try to give farmers another option and heal the Earth at the same time. Over the years we’ve honed the propagation of these plants and now we enable farmers to reforest their land with our native Leptospermum and bee fodder plants that support healthy bee populations, and we buy the honey they produce, which provides our farmers with an income while they regenerate their land, and increases the availability of locally grown and produced medicinal honey.’
‘We are at a really exciting point where we’ve got plantings maturing across the Northern Rivers and broader NSW, and that have managed to withstand the recent years of droughts, fires, floods and COVID-19. This year we’re harvesting our first honey direct from one of our plantings a year earlier than anticipated, and together with our beekeeper community, we’re now ready to share more of this native Australian Manuka Honey locally and with the world, which is really exciting.’
Gather By currently has a waitlist for growers in the Northern Rivers, but they would love to include you, if you might be interested, and have more than 5ha available for a planting. To add your name to this list, go to www.gatherby.org/growers, and complete the Land Survey – then they will get in touch with you.