Melbourne Bushfood started in September 2019 with a social
mission to bring native ingredients to the front of the Australian
We were a couple of young, driven, students, who turned our
passion for equality and sustainability into a force for change.
People needed to eat, and the practises we had in place looked like
there could be no alternative. Nature was being mowed down, streams
polluted, and animal life being seemingly wiped out.
How could a couple of young adults even
challenge such an old system?!
And that's when we uncovered bushfood...
A juvenile Strawberry Gum tree.
The Journey To Bushfood
Being young, we had energy on our side. We called farmers all across the country
asking if they knew where native ingredients grew. We sent emails to agricultural
societies asking where we could find some.
And it was in a small, cramped, health food store in Melbourne's central business
district that we found an old, out-of-date bag of Wattleseed.
Splitting the premium price between us, we eagerly ripped open the bag inhaling the
sweet smell that reminded us so much of chocolate, coffee, and hazelnuts. Finding bushfood
that really reflects the story of each ingredient didn’t happen overnight.
It started with a chance discovery whilst studying, and took a lot of hard work (and a lot of
eating) to bring ethical, purposeful, and sustainably sourced native ingredients to your pantry.
Quandong Fruit dangling on a tree.
Australia's native plants have fed humans for thousands of years. They provide a rich bounty where
alien grains and orchards die. Their nutritional content has been shown to be far superior to
modern foods, and offer an exceptional culinary experience.
The more we learned, the more we knew we how important bushfood was.
Sandalwood Nuts, Wattleseed, Gumby Gumby, Lemon Myrtle + Finger Lime
How We Got Here
Learning first hand from Aboriginal Communities and hearing their stories, we realized there was
a big problem in the native food industry. Low quality, corporate food manufacturers were preying on
consumers by offering a bushfood flavoured product than contained 0.01% of native ingredients -
how could you even taste that?
It got worse the more we dug. Even the suppliers of these ingredients stored them for years-on-end due to the
seasonality of bushfood, leading to a flavourless, dull, poor quality ingredient.
How could a couple of young adults even fight such an industry?!
Green Ant Nest
We decided to work exclusively with communities instead. That's where we found a vast network of
Aboriginal growers, Wild Harvesters, and Small Farmers who had a passion and love for native ingredients.
They have the respect, kindness to country and passion we had. So we started to work together.
Understanding the importance of Indigenous Ecological Knowledge, we knew we didn't want a business that's
sole focus was on profits. We wanted an enterprise that gave back social benefits to the producers we
worked with - and that's where the idea for Melbourne Bushfood came from.
Australia wasn't created in a day, and neither was the incredible knowledge we have of it. Before the pyramids, before civilization itself, Aboriginal Australians were here. Over 80,000 years of constant habitation has lead to a rich knowledge of Australia's botanical plants - called Indigenous Ecological Knowledge - read about it here.
As we grow, we continue to engage in benefit-sharing oppurtunities to ensure that the wealth trickles into the
hands of the Traditional Custodians and remote communities, helping to build the economies of
communities engaged with us.
What We're Doing:
- We teamed up with a local non-for-profit Indigenous revegetation nursery to bring native
bushfood plants to all Australians. For each plant sold, we donate $1 back to them.
- We pay suppliers the prices that they set so that they can set their terms and have
economic empowerment through their land and cultural assets.
Some of the richest superfoods can be found in Australia. We commit ourselves to ensuring
all Australians have access to great nutrition through bushfood.
Kakadu Plum (the highest known vitamin C content of any plant), Wattleseed
(Lab tested at 31% protein), Pepperberry (3 times the antioxidants
as a blueberry), Sandalwood Nut (41% fibre), Jilungin Dreaming Tea has
more antioxidants than Green Tea... the list goes on.
Bushfood answers the question of sustainable agriculture.
Since each plant has evolved to suite Australia's harsh environment, each are value adders to environmental improvements in Australia.
Our suppliers must meet our strict criteria to ensure a product that benefits the environment as much as the people that grow it.
With over 6,500 different bushfoods and a diversity of flavours to match, our own backyard could be feeding us rather than imported ingredients from overseas, lowering the carbon footprint of transportation.
MEET THE FAMILY
Lilian is a French-born pastry chef with a huge love for anything sweet.
He's got big ideas when it comes to bushfood - get ready!
A true human-lover, if you've got a problem, Hayden is the one who'll help.
He's always looking at ways to make what we do more purposeful, and impactful.
A lover of all things crunchy, goo-ey, flakey, and delicious, JC loves the unique tastes and flavours of native ingredients and the constrast they have compared to the flavours of her native Singapore
Bringing people to the table to enjoy delicious native Australian ingredients whilst supporting communities?
We can cheers to that!
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