Leanne Gammage, co-founder of Masterstock Cape Wild Food, inherited a deep love of food from her father’s family. She describes the speciality salt operation as a “creative food company”, that puts regenerative agricultural practices at the centre of their business.
With a slogan like “growing food culture”, the Masterstock brand is heavily invested in restoring traditional food heritage. Gammage says, in 2017 when she co-founded Masterstock with Jackson Andrew, their visions for the brand aligned.
“My path merged with Jackson Andrew, who shared the vision of bringing forgotten food resources back to the market, and our merging is the birth of the company called Masterstock,” Gammage says.
A company crafting speciality salts, the Masterstock Cape Wild Food brand comprises of flavours like African Hibiscus, Cape Citrus, and Cape Merlot. These salt flavours, according to Gammage, are made up of local elements.
“Our Cape Wild food comprises of the local indigenous western green leaf vegetables and edible wild foods, [like] nettles and dandelions to mention a few.”
She explains that their products are made with mineral-rich salt from a shell aquifer on the West Coast of the country, and they grow produce and source locally.
“We grow and source local, good quality harvests from the Cape, and the products go through a blending and curing process to bring us salt that adds flavour, colour, and a little bit of magic to every dish.”
Gammage also says the crops and plants added to their salts are high in nutrients and support a healthy digestion system. They also help heal food systems.
“We speak of regeneration of agricultural technique and in simple terms, this means dynamic farming. It’s easy to allow nature to do the work and you can help it along through natural means.”
Farmers themselves, Gammage says they do not believe in synthetic fertilisation, spray programmes, or seeds that are not able to reseed.
“We strive to have a relationship with every plant and every person who plants, and this is when you bring farming home to your heart.”
The human connection
Of course, like any small business in South Africa, Masterstock has experienced challenges. Gammage finds that challenges are often opportunities, and explains how they use the business as an opportunity to impact society.
“I often use the analogy of a shopping cart full of food that is still not enough to fill you, and that this is what happens with food that has been deprived of its natural occurring nutrients. For me, the opportunity here is in growing, educating, and a skills development platform. God has given us everything we need. We only have to open our eyes.”
As part of their aims to grow, develop, and educate, Gammage says Masterstock is working towards launching their own agribusiness school.
“This [school] will have a primary focus on teaching [everything] from agricultural practices to agriprocessing, through to manufacturing and having a retail-ready product. This will empower future like-minded farmers and business personalities.”
Though running a small business is challenging, most business owners find motivation or inspiration in their endeavors. For Gammage, that inspiration is the human connection.
“What keeps me inspired throughout all sectors, from agriculture right through to marketing and placement of products, is the human connection, the life force that I see in every person I meet, whether I am standing in a field or in a business conference room. We all share one love.”
Gammage’s tips for aspiring agripreneurs:
Believe in yourself
You do not need anyone else to believe in you. Stand in your power fully and get on with it.
This one is a hard lesson. When you’re ready to give up, keep on going. There’s a blessing in itself here.
Everything is an opportunity
We don’t have to look far to see threats and feel fear, and that’s easy. But I charge you to look for the opportunities in those threats. Turn your threat into your opportunity.
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