Farmer Dominic Smith is the face of Pundi Produce in the Riverland.
The business, which was established in 2014, was cultivated by Dominic’s love of working outside and a desire to produce, market and distribute the highest quality native food he could grow.
In the past, Dominic farmed commercial crops, but switched to natives because of the overall sustainability of the native food industry and its connection to his indigenous roots.
Passionate about conservation and land management, Dominic grows most of his produce using aquaponics. Crops using this method are much less taxing on the environment, using less water, land and labour than traditional agriculture.
However, growing native food has also became a vehicle to pursue another passion, providing opportunities for young indigenous people in his community.
Connecting to nature is connecting to country
My people are from Yuin nation, the Black Duck People from NSW. When I was younger, I used to sit and watch my nanna tend her garden. She had a green thumb, and gardening was her favourite past time.
As I learn more about bush medicines and plants, I feel more connected to her, and her way of life.
The thing is, you don’t have to be an indigenous Australian to feel connected to Indigenous Australia. The very earth you touch, is the earth the first peoples walked upon and tended to. If you’re simply mindful of this, you’ll always be connected to them. Curiously, all they had in life was the earth and each other, and they thrived. Despite the leaps and bounds we’ve made as a modern society in industry and technology, unlike our ancestors, we are disconnected from the earth and from each other.
Ancient Wisdom. Modern Technology. Purposeful Produce.
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Nature is the most available, wondrous stress relief. And it’s free! Smelling the earth, digging the dirt, watching wildlife, gazing at the clouds is all revitalising. The simple act of planting and tending a tree is not just calming, it’s curing. The growth and new life of the tree inspires growth and new life in us too. – “Lion Writing”
Farmers are unable to keep up with the market demand for Indigenous foods as consumer and manufacturer interest in the nutrient-rich bush foods ramps up.
Pundi Produce joins Outback Spirit in Caring for Country
This year OSF began working closely with Pundi Produce in the Riverland of South Australia.
In just nine weeks, Monash grower Dominic Smith, with the help of mentor Andrew de Dezsery from 1Aquaponics, has established an aquaponics system and begun harvesting fresh produce.
Australia’s first accelerator program specifically designed for start-ups operating in the native ag+food sector is working with 12 early stage native food and agriculture businesses across Australia.
Australia’s first program focused on native bushfoods has launched with a cohort of 12 early stage native food and agriculture businesses selected from more than 50 applicants across the country.