ARTIST INTERVIEW: Gabrielle Mirkin + Luke Harwood of Activist Manuka Honey
Company: Activist Manuka Honey
Artist: Gabrielle Mirkin + Luke Harwood
Gabrielle Mirkin and Luke Harwood began Activist Mānuka Honey just last year, and have already made a significant impact as innovators in the wellness community. With the intention of highlighting the multi-dimensional powers of one of earth’s most precious gifts, Activist Manuka Honey’s offerings range from culinary to medicinal grade Manuka honey that can be used to benefit the body both internally and externally.
The Echo Park Craft Fair is celebrating our 10 year anniversary this Holiday, 2019. Can you speak to how long you’ve been doing the Fair and how the EPCF community has contributed to the evolution of your work and business?
This is the first time we are doing EPCF as we only launched Activist last year. We are so excited to be apart of EPCF this year, along with other friends from the community – Bodha (with whom we are sharing a tent) and Canyon Coffee.
Please tell us about the current work you will featuring this Holiday and speak a bit to how you/your work as evolved over the last decade?
We will be showcasing our full line of Activist raw Mānuka Honey from New Zealand. The food-as-medicine philosophy in our household plays out in the Activist range, with four distinct honeys labeled with their MGO rating.
We offer a culinary-grade Mānuka 100+ MGO which is amazing for homemade cacao granola and tea. We have our Wellness 300+ MGO Mānuka for adding into immune-boosting tonics and smoothies for everyday immune support. Our most popular grade is our potent medicinal Mānuka 850+ MGO which helps banish a sore throat, aids in wound healing, eczema, rashes and makes the most nourishing and hydrating face mask and face cleanser.
Activist 1000+ MGO Limited-Edition Mānuka is extremely rare and only available in small quantities throughout the year; perfect for anyone wanting to treat a specific ailment or antibiotic-resistant skin infection or internal issue. It’s an amazing addition to your beauty cabinet too.
We offer our Activist Survival Kit; which is a gift box trio featuring three grades of Mānuka Honey with an educational piece on how to use each grade with particular uses. We will also be showcasing a beautiful range of New Zealand-made ceramics; a citrus press and honey dish.
The ethics of production are on our minds a lot recently – questions of sustainability, fair labor, location, and artistic integrity. How do these concepts come into play in your craft and your business? What choices do you make that take into account these ideas?
Beyond our personal endeavors for enjoying the ocean, the native environment and wanting our future generation to be able to enjoy this too; harvesting sustainability is the right thing to do, not the cool thing to do. In essence, this affects the results of our Mānuka Honey as a symbiotic relationship with the bees and our overall environment!
Our hives are located in unique, pristine and isolated regions of New Zealand, which is typically a great start for the bee’s health as these locations are free of GMOs and urban toxins. It is also crucial that we do not overpopulate our locations with many hives. We keep our hives at lower numbers in these dense locations and what this does is encourage the bees to flourish and pollinate for ethical harvesting and productivity; but most importantly bee health. We believe sustainability is also our relationships, not just product and environment. We’ve handpick our stockists around the globe; like us, they have put beautiful time and energy into building a unique business with essence, and are a corner-stone to their community. We do not sell on Amazon.
Can you speak a bit to your process? What inspires your work? What techniques do you use to produce your designs? What is the history behind those techniques, and does that inform how you utilize them in your process?
A huge part of the direction of our business is to put natural un-adulterated products into the world with as little human or industrial contact as possible. Activist Raw Mānuka Honey is wildcrafted in Aotearoa, New Zealand by bees that pollinate the native Mānuka Bush during a small seasonal window in the spring and summer. Mānuka Honey is a beautiful resource with considerably higher levels of enzymes and antibacterial properties than found in other honey. It is truly one of Mother Nature’s special gifts to us.
Our integrity and vision is that our honey is produced in small batches, therefore retaining Mānuka’s value, active nutritional properties and plant enzymes. Activist is something we are proud to present to our friends and customers as an offering that enriches daily life and celebrates all things natural and beautiful. As a family, we always take inspiration from nature, the ocean, travel and of course our homeland of New Zealand. These things, and our little boy Cisco, inspire us to create a business and lifestyle where we are more free and flexible to travel and live between New Zealand and California. Having this type of freedom is our luxury.
What is your underlying philosophy/core vision for your work? And what impact do you hope your creative work will have on your community?
As a brand, genuineness and essence are crucial to us and Activist. At a certain point we’d love to give all our earnings away. In the meantime we are still a very small company and as a family and business we always seem to have bills to pay. We realize we can all be much more impactful through genuine relationships, intimacy and the offering of help and hands. So we feel what we can do with Activist is use it as a clean vehicle, one of them is to inspire children at a school level through art and outdoor activity. We see this as helping create a ripple effect, because we believe children learning to have a respect and interest in Mother Nature at a young age is a beautiful thing.