Primal Gathering is a female-led environmental & social regeneration movement. They build communities around the world that restore people, forests and ecosystems. Their sole mission is to leave people and places better than how they found them. Living up to their mission, they interviewed Star Seed's founders, Ed & Emilie on regeneration & veganism.
Star Seed were honoured to feature in their first UK Primal Gathering @ 42 Acres, Somerset in April. Joined by a community of climate activists and thought leaders, we felt held and heard. Emilie's earlier article really captured that experience. However, keeping this special unified energy can be a challenge, particularly in our busy, urban lives. Nonetheless we were thrilled to hear that Primal Gathering wanted to interview us earlier this month.
We really enjoyed the interview and wanted to share it, plus shine some further light on Primal Gathering's regenerative community. It's our belief that communities shape our environment, if we keep building nature-based experiences, we can inhabit the change we need to restore our collective consciousness.
What led you to starting Star Seed, a regenerative brand, and what has been the most rewarding part?
Emilie grew up in Denmark by the sea, surrounded by lush forests. Her father taught her and her many sisters about the edible & medicinal plants that they could forage in nature. Her curiosity was sparked, and she went on a path studying natural building materials in a sustainability focused architecture degree.
Whilst Emilie was finishing her masters in Vernacular building techniques and Architecture’s impact on school girl Absenteeism in Tanzania, I met her and we instantly fell in love. We dreamed up ideas of creating a lifestyle that complemented our values, helping us, others and the planet be healthier.
We both did our time in the corporate world, having worked in big firms in London and felt very disconnected from source & our purpose. While we independently committed ourselves to sustainability, we soon saw that our health challenges were very much alike and our bodies & mind desperately needed reconnection and healing.
Headaches, back-pain, gut issues, ruminating thoughts and finally skin flare ups, hives & rosacea - our bodies we sending us all the signs that something had to change.
I embarked on a journey towards regenerative agriculture, agroforestry, and started doing permaculture courses. Along with my father, Julian, we set up an initiative called Food & Forests, which led me to Kenya, where we met many of the smallholder and tribal communities, whose lands had been degraded.
In 2020 the world started waking up and we had a calling to act. Star Seed became the medicine we so desperately needed, and we could tell from our own community that many people were on the same search.
How to live with purpose, have freedom, be healthy and have a positive impact?
Star Seed shares a dream to bring smallholder farmers and indigenous peoples back into the climate debate, the people that are often the hardest affected by the changing climate; droughts, soil erosion and flooding. Ultimately we are here to create design solutions that enhance and restore communities and planet alike 🌱
Regeneration is what Star Seed is all about. It is something we value throughout the whole supply chain, also in the office with each other and our soon to be employees. We want people to feel purposeful and energised by the work we do together, and we are creating an open, transparent business for everyone to join 🌟
We partner with smallholders in Kenya, through our producer, Francisca who has spent a lifetime establishing strong connections and relationships with the communities. By supporting us, you support her network of farmers & communities. Adding value to the smallholder communities, through diversifying income streams into a bigger variety of perennial and permanent plants & trees, gives them an opportunity to grow and obtain greater independence. It also incentivises farmers to keep (not fell for firewood or agriculture) old, beautiful trees that have been growing on their lands for decades, and in some cases, thousands of years.
The wisdom that Francisca and empowered Kenyan women have shared with us, of the local fauna and flora - and healing botanicals that have been used for thousands of years, has opened our eyes to the wonderful universe of ancient botany.
Our strong belief is that if we support communities that are in harmony with nature, we help protect the best custodians of our environment; indigenous peoples.
How did you discover the importance of vegan skincare and what about it made you decide to focus your life on this?
Well it started with our diet. We have both eaten a plant-based diet for over 4 years.
And botanical skincare made complete sense to us. Why would you put something on your skin that you wouldn’t eat. And why would you eat something that lived an unhappy life, causing more harm than good? Ultimately if everything is an energy exchange, we need to create positive energy all the way across the value chain to have a positive impact for human & planetary health.
It’s all rooted in nature. Nature is abundant and full of wisdom & experience. There is no need to synthesise ingredients, when nature has achieved 4.5 billions years of R&D. Whenever we are connected to a healthy natural environment, we stand to benefit.
What is something that people don’t know about vegan skincare and they absolutely should know?
While Vegan is a great starting point. We believe skincare should focus on restoring the skin microbiome (1 trillion + living organisms that call our skin home).
Planet Earth has already lost a devastating 70% of its biodiversity, and 40% of its soils are now degraded. This is mirrored in our bodies, for we are a reflection of nature.
Our Skin Microbiome has lost as much as 80% of its microbial diversity. The loss of diversity is making us less resilient to inflammation and illness.
By making Star Seed's products anhydrous (no water), we are able to avoid chemical preservatives and hormone disruptors. Both of which kill (good) bacteria that keep us healthy and part of nature.
When you pick up your next vegan product, check to see if aqua (water) is in there. It’s usually the first ingredient, and therefore most often contains harmful preservatives. Also other than being vegan, ask whether the ingredients are ethically sourced and not harmful to the planet’s waterways and wildlife.
Do you have any advice for other people like yourself starting something in this space, looking to start their own regenerative projects?
Our first advice is do something you are naturally passionate about. Insight and deep knowledge is everything and it can take many years to develop.
Once you know that, do your research and find out how you can be of service to your community. What are people repeatedly requesting that benefits their health or wellbeing? Find your niche and zoom even further in. How specific can you be? Are you good at creating beautiful crafts, have an incredible voice, know how to gather people or have super green fingers? Then get going. You learn so much by doing. Reading books and creating business plans is great, but real knowledge comes from getting your hands in the proverbial soil, or actual soil.
Also start building a loyal community, you’re going to need them to keep you going, because it’s tough out there.
And finally, enjoy the process - successful entrepreneurs are the ones that learn how to fail (because that’s inevitable) and then turn that failure into success. Or even better scrap those two words and focus on what makes you feel excited every day. Think into the future - what little “boring tasks” would you have to get through, to get to your dream goals? Are they worth it? If they are, then it is time to get started.
What’s a book or podcast you recommend? And why do you think others should read it?
Emilie’s favourite is Rude Awakenings, s.2 episode 7 on how a goat farmer bathed her dying husband in Kefir and saved his life. Extraordinary.
Books - I think the Surrender Experiment, Michael Singer is really compelling. It’s a reminder that we cannot control life, so lean into the journey and let things evolve as nature planned it, live in abundance.