Tuesday, 18 December 2007


I have been looking for roasted wattle seeds in a packet, not a jar, to send to Pattie in the USA. The main brand of bush food herbs is Outback Pride, which is a South Australian company, run by the Quamby's. They were featured recently on Landline - one of the best TV shows around, about rural Australia and farming, in particular. Their story is certainly something to be proud of and you can watch the Landline article online. The gist of it is this:

Something happened to one of their sons which made them rethink their lives and what was important to them. Gayle grew up in outback SA and they decided they wanted to help the Aboriginal communities to regain their pride and become useful members of their settlements. Their idea was to start up a true bush-foods business with these people as its beneficiaries by including them in the work. In each of several areas in outback SA they have started 1 acre plots of herbs which are native to the area. The local Aboriginal people are invited to tend the herbs, with free instruction from Mike and Gayle, and to pick the product when it is ready. The Quamby's do a 4000km round trip once a month to visit the plots ! The workers are paid by the amount they pick, when the Quamby's arrive. Half the pay goes to the individual and half to the communities.The produce is then taken back to Reedy Creek where it is packaged. The Quamby's have invested all their superannuation in this and, as yet, have no return in cash, but plenty in seeing the smiles on those Aboriginal faces.

There are no fences around the crops and the whole plot is open to the community to eat as they choose because the main idea is, after all, to improve the lives of these misplaced people whose diets are atrocious and lack any sort of fresh food. The children have made the first move and nibble on the berries and fruits on their way to school and gradually others are joining in, especially those tending the plots. The interviews with the Aboriginal workers shows what a difference this work has made to the lives of everyone in the communities, as they truly have regained their confidence and are proud to be doing something involving their own culture.

The next step is to get some funding to make these tiny plots into viable ventures. Governments have agreed it is a great thing the Quamby's are doing but as yet no money has materialised in the 2 year's since they applied for a grant ! Unbelievable - what is this state government doing ??

The Quambies are amazing people and now I know why the company is called 'Outback Pride'.When you are shopping this week pick up a packet (or a jar) and open your tastebuds to real Australia and your wallets to real Australians.


Maggie said...

Thanks for this I knew nothing at all about this venture or product. I shall check it out.
Herbie's Spices in Roselle Sydney has an online shop, run by Ian and Elizabeth Hemphill. I have been meaning to write about them as they also have an online newsletter. If you are in Sydney catch the ferry to Balmain and go for a long heavenly walk past old terrace houses, cafe's and shops or hop on a bus and ride to Roselle. We went on a lovely spring day when Sydney Harbour was glistening like a million diamonds. Then we caught another ferry to Watsons Bay and had takeaway grilled fresh fish from Doyles, on the bay, under a Morton Bay Fig Tree and watched the harbour and life just quietly pass us by. Heaven! I wish we had a harbour in Adelaide. Nothing to do with bush foods except that I think their spices and seeds are all in packets and they post anywhere.

Kate said...

Thanks Maggie. I love Sydney harbour too. Outback pride does make packets but they sell so fast I haven't been able to get the wattleseed one yet.

Pattie Baker said...

Kate/Maggie: I will print this out and read to my kids--I love the story about the kids nibbling on their way to school.

Maggie: I'll check out that site--I can order from there and save you the trouble, Kate! I look forward to making a wattle seed recipe to share with the Flat Stanley schoolchildren in the the New Year!

Anonymous said...

"I love the story about the kids nibbling on their way to school."

I like it too! Now I'm even more impressed by the company. :) Too bad I haven't yet had a chance to actually try any of this myself (I'm 1 generation and 10,000 miles removed from Australia).