Marvick Desert Lime
Melbourne Bushfood started in September 2019 with a social mission to bring native ingredients to the front of the Australian Pantry.
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...
Our 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district that we found an old, out-of-date bag of Wattleseed.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.
"Bushfoods offer exceptional culinary, nutritional, social and environmental
benefits - it's a win-win for all" - Hayden Marks, Founder.
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.
Strawberry Gum Tree
Pepperberry under a Eucalpt canopy
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 wholesale 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?!
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.
“If we are to attempt to understand Indigenous philosophy it has to begin with the profound obligation to land.” - Bruce Pascoe, Dark Emu
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 down.
That's directly into the hands of the Australia's Traditional Custodians and regional remote communities, helping to build the economies of communities who are engaged with us.
Bushfood has evolved to suite Australia's harsh environment, and each are important to improving our ecosystems.
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.
Some of the richest superfoods can be found in Australia. We commit ourselves to ensuring all Australians have access to great nutrition through bushfood.
From Vitamin C heroes like Kakadu Plum to Antioxidant powerhouses like Pepperberry and Jilungin, they're as nutritious as they are delicious.