First the bushfires. Then the pandemic. And just as we thought the light was glimmering at the end of the COVID tunnel, Mother Nature decided otherwise and sent us a couple of "rain bombs" to isolate communities, inundate low lying flat plains like Lismore and render thousands of people homeless.
Throughout the event, there were countless callouts for help, cries for basics like food, clean drinking water and shelter. The Northern Rivers community was galvanised into action, self-organised by enterprising and resourceful individuals and groups; we all played some part - from giving hugs and cups of tea to donning boots to help clean out the foul-smelling mud-covered home. It was neighbourly love at a regional level. And it was both heart-breaking and soul-warming.
We will get through this. We will recover.
And amongst our tribe of partner artisans, those most affected were our Pyewackets Traditional team Genna & Katrina who lost their little shop based in Lismore, our Barefoot Farmers Matt and Ash watched helplessly as their pecan orchard in Eltham went underwater and our young farmers at Olive Gap Farm in Woodburn somehow remained unbelievably optimistic amidst the chaos of rising waters.
They managed to rescue barrels of certified organic tea tree oil floating away (thank god they were airtight) and were fortunate to some extent with the brand new packaging that had just arrived in a shipping container. "With a chain gang in chest height water, we managed to save half of it before it went too high to manage."
However, the proverbial phoenix has risen out of the waters, with collaboration at the forefront. As the Barefoot Farm floodwaters receded they offered the Pyewackets Traditional team space in their kitchens to continue to operate.
Olive Gap Farm put out a call to support with pre-orders of their divine tea tree oil in the brand new bottle & packaging - along with new product launch in the form of certified organic tea tree hydrosol! (Hydrosol is produced as a by-product during the distillation process for the essential tea tree oil. We call it the "floral water" - perfect as a therapeutic face toner and full body deodorizing spritzer and antiseptic spray.)
On the surface, the sodden earth is now dry. But the scars of the flood are etched in the eyes of those affected and their mental anguish remains hidden and for many, unrecognised. There is still much to do...
Recovery requires bravery. Taking one step and one day at a time.
Thank you to our tribe who have supported our artisans and our region in whatever capacity you could!