27 Feb 2010

Christian community world leader in moss exports

9:28 pm on 27 February 2010

A Christian community on the West Coast of the South Island is one of the world's leading producers of sphagnum moss.

The Gloriavale community produces 45 tonnes of dried moss per year.

Most of the moss is exported to the United States and some goes to Japan.

Fervent Stedfast of the community told Country Life they stumbled over its potential.

While developing dairy farming, they were asked if they could pick the moss and sell it, and decided to do so.

Sphagnum moss can absorb 10 to 20 times its weight in water. It provides moisture for flower displays and reptiles.

Mr Stedfast said the community has a national distribution warehouse in Los Angeles: some of the moss is sold to Disneyland.

Chile also has sphagnum moss, but the community has been told its moss is of superior quality.

The Gloriavale community was established in 1991.