We are Marco and Tess, along with our three sons Tahl, Jai and Odi, and we are passionate children of this earth. We believe in living within the natural cycles of our beautiful planet, being truly connected to the seasons, listening, learning and treading lightly on this earth that sustains us. For us this is captured in getting back to traditional ways of living, that have a lot less impact; growing our own food, knowing and sharing with our community, having practical skills to be resilient, build, design, make and that this deep connection of living can bring true happiness.
What does traditional living mean to us:
Living like those that have gone before us, those who had a deep connection with nature, relied on their surroundings and knew the value of respecting and looking after that which looked after them.
Living with a deep satisfaction and happiness of being connected with our food, the seasons and our community. We can all grow something wherever we live - growing something and keeping it alive is a magical way to feel connected to nature, the more you feel connected the happier you will be.
Living locally, eating locally and bartering skills.
Living with the wisdom and teachings of the earth before pesticides, herbicides, mass produced food and plastics ever invaded our planet.
Living to create a better planet, and knowing that if we deeply care and act accordingly we can regenerate our life-sustaining planet through the way we garden and farm, we can produce and look after our needs and regenerate our environment collectively.
Living without perfection, but pushing for a circular economy where there is no waste. We need to take responsibility of ourselves again, our waste (in all its senses), our health, our relationships.
Living thoughtfully, making choices that are empowering, knowing who made your ‘stuff’ and where it ends up when you are finished with it! We can all make a difference.
Living in a way that can sustain everyone and everything on this planet, we have enough for everyone - it just needs to be managed more wisely.
Crafty Gatherer life came about after years dreaming, observing, learning from others and gathering ideas of the way we wanted to live. After seeing a lot of the waste in this world, we wanted to be part of the solution, not adding to the problem. The Crafty Gatherer name means so many things for us, but essentially encapsulates that we are creative humans and should have an outlet for this, we are people of this earth who should be in tune to gather and harvest from our lands. We look for simple solutions that lead to a more self-sufficient way of being and look to see how we can contribute this to our community. We aim to work on the land to improve the soil, water, natural habitats and wildlife while reaping the benefits of healthy lifestyles and an income that aligns with our values.
We create tools to help people live efficiently both in their home and garden, all 100% NZ made, mainly by us, and some other clever artisans that we have connected with. Through our products and the way we live, we hope to empower and motivate others that it is the small choices we make everyday that have the biggest impact - from the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the businesses we buy from and how we share with our 'neighbours’. Knowing that you have brought a product from a company whose number one priority is to respect nature, reduce the resources we use and re-use materials where possible can be pretty empowering. Buying a product that will last a lifetime is a very empowering choice for the planet and yourself indeed.
We also have a blog, run workshops and have open days to offer people simple solutions they can easily adopt and sustain for their own journey.
Some ways we live traditionally:
Grow and forage our plants
We build our soils, grow our own food, organically and seasonally - making our own compost and seed raising mix, raising our seeds, saving our seeds where possible and sharing the excess, having a worm farm for the castings and juice. We make our own aerated compost tea and add this biology every fortnight to our soils. We grow living mulches (cover crops), plant beneficial plants and flowers for insects, rotate our crops and make biochar for healthy soils. We forage for nutritional ‘weeds’ and mushrooms, forage for native tree/shrub seeds to propagate. Having a variety of different fruit trees and berries means we can aim to provide ourselves and others with fruit throughout the year.
We raise healthy animals
We raise chickens who have foraging access to lots of different grasses, berries and herbs.
We are learning to our raise cows and sheep in a regenerative way, to build soil. We don't use antibiotics or drenches, instead use herbal drenches and homeopathy when needed. Our stock are moved everyday.
Appropriate technology we use
Appropriate technology focuses on using locally available resources to create, it tends to be energy-efficient but labour intensive, in that you are building it from scratch. When we see something that we like, or need, or that will help build community up here, we learn the skills from others or by teaching ourselves and build/create it. Creating with our hands and the satisfaction from that brings deep happiness. We are always hoarding materials that we find on the side of the road, on Trademe or what people give us to use for projects - we call this appropriate technology. A few examples are our cob oven, rocket BBQ, fire-syphon bath, biochar burners, solar dehydrator. The wood we use to fire these different items is either from our property or trees fallen from down the road.
We make herbal remedies
We make tinctures, syrups and balms from the plants we grow to look after our health.
Take care of our waste
We have compost toilets that we compost and age for at least a year before putting the lovely broken down humanure onto our fruit trees. We have a greywater system for our waste water. Our food scraps either go to compost, the worm farm or the chickens. In this era of waste - we of course still produce rubbish, we work hard to keep this minimal - it still creeps in, quite a lot of it.
We let our children be children
One of the best gifts we can give our children- the freedom to explore, watch and learn for themselves in their own time. They love to create, work in the garden, make fairy houses, explore in the bush block, make huts - all those things kids have always done.
What we eat
We often get asked what we eat…so here is how we aim to eat, with no perfection needed. Our meals are normally based around what is in the garden, we eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, we also eat some meat that is either grown or hunted by us, broths, eggs from our chickens, sourdough bread, a little dairy from the local raw milk vendor down the road, a bit of whole-grains, nuts, seeds and beans, dressings, ferments and preserves we have made or swapped, and of course some sweets with honey from our bees (let's be honest it's usually dark chocolate!) We are not perfect - and that is not our goal, we are kind to ourselves and when we make good choices and live within these outlines, we feel happier.
We are involved in our community in a number of ways, through being involved and growing seedlings for the local community gardens, offering new skills through professional development for garden to table specialists in schools, sharing/trading with our neighbours and friends, holding workshops at our place, teaching and sharing information. Being involved in the local Waldorf school and kindergarten community where our children go. Helping schools, community gardens and charities who are in need of a helping hand with our products.