An Amish farmer, a Seinfeld movie and a table of honey, no, it’s not the start of a dad joke, but the start of an amazing journey that leads us to the launch of Gather By. But before we go into detail, we thought you might like to hear the strange and serendipitous story of how it all began.
The Amish farmer
It all starts with Matt, an entrepreneurial businessman who at the age of 20 co-founded a technology company and helped take it public. Starting and building innovative technology companies became his purpose and passion and while he was living in New York running an information-security public technology company, Matt met an Amish farmer who deeply impacted his life – his name was Abner Lapp.
Matt had already developed a keenness for fine food so he quickly became interested in the exquisite biodynamic food produced by the Amish. But back then, it was a kind of clandestine operation as the Amish are unable to drive and it was illegal for consumers to buy their raw dairy and unprocessed meat. But thanks to the then new CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), a volunteer could deliver food from the Amish farms to New York city under the cover of darkness. Of course, with Abner as a passenger.
Matt and Abner became friends. They introduced each other to their communities and Matt was invited to visit the farm and stay, which he did many times. Abner introduced Matt to his family and his biodynamic farm, planting the seed of community strength and regenerative farming deeply into Matt’s soul.
A Seinfeld Movie.
Returning to Sydney, Matt was investing his time and energy in green initiatives and information security and living on his boat on the Hawkesbury river. Still passionate about food, he ordered his provisions from Feather and Bone who sourced food locally, sustainably and guaranteed its provenance. While enjoying this amazing food, Matt pondered his life and business experiences and connections and wondered – what’s next?
Just then, a colleague introduced him to Jules, a high flying business woman from Sydney and things took an interesting turn. Jules had worked in the big-end corporate sector in Sydney, China and Africa and her escape was watching the kinds of movies teenagers enjoy. Jules and Matt were talking over an organic meal and Jules bought up the subject of bees and their importance in our food supply after seeing Jerry Seinfeld’s ‘Bee movie’. This gave Matt the inspiration he needed and the next steps in the journey became clear.
From information security to food security.
A Table of Honey
Thanks to the mischievous conservationist and educator, Gavin Smith, Matt and Jules found themselves at a natural beekeeper’s lunch and honey tasting. The event was hosted by Jenna, a proud alumni of the awesome Milkwood courses in regenerative farming and natural beekeeping. At the time, Jenna was wrestling with her own thinking around wealth creation and sustainable living and with a background in business and psychology, Jenna knew that the world needed something that would fundamentally change people’s attitudes towards how they create abundance whilst living in a way that is respectful to our planet’s natural resources. She knew she couldn’t undertake this on her own and was seeking to co-create with others on a similar journey.
And then under a tree, tasting pots of honey, these three people met and talked about the big issues facing us humans… climate change and impact to our food security, importance of honey bees and threats to their survival, impact of extensive mining on our aquifers, oceans and our prime food growing regions.
These three people became the founders of Gather By.
Matt, Jenna and Jules made countless trips into the regional communities of Australia talking to beekeepers, landholders, and food growers and it became sickeningly apparent that the large food corporations were driving prices down forcing family farmers off their farms. The beekeeping industry and local communities were dying, again prices forced so low that only few could survive.
They started compiling lists of everything to do with sustainable living and regenerative agriculture building a directory of inspirational people and projects who had influenced them on their journey.
They recognized that a new, rich, vibrant beekeeping industry could be built on the back of our Australian native leptospermum bush that produces the highest grade medicinal honey in the world.
The intention was to connect these people, projects and resources and to make them accessible for others to participate in. They wanted Gather By to be about encouraging and facilitating the global groundswell of change, creating a sense of urgency but at the same time empowering people to see that a better future can be created together.
And here we are today.
When you register at www.gatherby.org you will be connected to a community of people just like you. You’ll be able to search our comprehensive directories and add businesses or people who are doing good things. You will be able to learn from thought leaders and experts as well as taking an active part in their work. You will also be able to join an incredible range of projects and add your own. This way the directory builds one by one, throughout the nation, throughout the planet.
Gather By used this directory to start their first regenerative medicinal honey agribusiness project and at www.gatherby.org/shop you’ll be able to participate and buy unique, world-class Australian Manuka medicinal honeys to heal yourself and your family. This model is built using a new form of capitalism where mother nature is valued. For each jar of honey sold, a proportion of funds is allocated to the community - to all the stakeholders – beekeepers, landholders, producers and mother nature through native bush regeneration.
So welcome to the Gather By community, it’s great to meet you. We have a lot of exciting things to share, amazing projects for you to get involved in, and of course some of the best healing honey in the world. We look forward to a wonderful journey together.
With much love,
The Gather By Team