Bliss Herbals is an innovative social-entrepreneurship venture which seeks to offer high quality African botanicals grown ethically and sustainably in their indigenous habitat. As a holistic company we want to supply every aspect of the natural product market; from seeds to training to our own organic cosmetics range. Research has consistently pointed out that the indigenous medicine trade is a source of underutilized wealth; and we would like to serve as a platform which enables healers, harvesters and growers to collaborate in a meaningful way to create products of great intellectual and economic value, while spontaneously enriching the communities and environments that they come from.

We propose to do this by the cultivation of key medicinal plants in rural KZN (and later elsewhere in Southern Africa) using permaculture/sustainable agriculture methods to maximise yields, quality and energy use. We work in collaboration with traditional healers in order to ensure that the plants are grown in accordance with their needs as many cultivated crops are rejected. These plants will be distributed to supply local muthi markets, packaged for higher income markets, sold in bulk to local and international natural product manufacturers, and transformed into natural cosmetics and medicines with added value and profit margins.

We see ourselves growing, teaching, researching, creating and selling incredible medicines on an Earth-to-Shelf permaculture farm/lab/training centre that ensures safety and quality; with cultivation nodes and teaching hubs run by local women who contribute to the biodiversity of our business ecosystem and build wealth for themselves and their communities. A distributed network will ensure that we can grow a diverse range of plants in the best possible conditions and that the economic and developmental benefits will reach as many communities as possible, while adding a layer of stability in times of insecurity and climatic change. We hope to use the Kandu technology to efficiently manage harvests and production of medicinal plants across a wide geography.

We are currently building towards starting a training and growing hub from where we hope to pilot these ideas and fine tune them to the harsh ground-level realities. Currently we manufacture and sell our cosmetic range from home, offer workshops in permaculture and herbalism, and engage with community garden projects to deliver mentorship and training.

We hope to become a social entrepreneurship with a difference: combating bio-piracy and misuse of indigenous knowledge, helping conserve our natural heritage, empowering rural women through setting up micro-businesses as growing nodes, and running as a fairly-traded, organic, ethical company ‘for the people-by the people’.