Introducing One Man Gathers

One Man Gathers is a Boonton-based wood studio that creates one of a kind items for the home, all handcrafted from salvaged materials. Our customers love the reclaimed wood six-pack holders, photo frames, trays and barnwood New Jerseys.

Matt Myers is the man that gathers, designs and creates the rustic wood masterpieces. Not only is he the dad to triplet girls he also manages to run his growing business while working as a middle school science teacher. Matt is an inspiration to us – a real local hero - and we think you will agree.

Q: Tell us a little about your work as an educator?

I teach 6 grade Earth Science. This allows me to teach the basics of the Earth’s place in the universe, Earth’s systems and Humans Impact and Activity. To demonstrate positive use of our Earth’s resources, we have developed an organic garden and large native perennial plant beds. The native plants serve has host plants for insect and bird species, offer food for pollinators, and allow for healthy pest management with our garden. The garden also serves as a waystation for Monarch butterflies during their migration to and from Mexico. Not only are the beds good for wildlife, but they also offer students a hands on location to measure area and perimeter as they are built in different geometric shapes.

 

Food from the garden is used in the school cafeteria, cooking classes and is sold through our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Through the CSA, students gather, prepare and sell seasonal organic produce to participating staff members each week. All marketing, plant recipes, plant nutritional information and accounting is done by students. Money raised through this program goes back into the garden to purchase organic seeds, tools and supplies. I like the CSA model because it gives students pride and shows them positive business practices that will be needed in their future. I try to instill mindfulness in students’ of their use of the limited resources on our planet and that our trash doesn’t just “go away.” To that end, we try to “close the loop” and compost all waste from the garden and cooking classes. We have also begun composting students’ lunch waste that is monitored by students. It is my hope that these practices will show students the steps we can take as individuals to lessen our impact on the planet.

Q: What inspired you to start making your products?

One Man Gathers Studio was created when I was unable to find wood picture frames that were American made from recycled material for holiday gifts.  Also as a lifelong environmentalist and cyclist that has traveled many back roads, I realized that folks discard unbelievable amounts of beautiful wood that certainly has a second life left to live.

Q: Explain 1MG in five words or less.

Givin’ wood a second chance.

Q: What is your favorite thing about living in New Jersey?

Favorite thing about living in New Jersey is DIVERSITY! Diversity in people, economic groups, and landscape. Lots of things to keep one interested! I want to continue to promote sustainable living practices, develop new products and to establish working relationships with home remodelers to gather materials from the waste stream. Down the road I would like to teach my daughters more building skills and help them become self-sufficient in their future.