Melbourne Bushfood is on a mission to bring incredible native ingredients to every Aussie Pantry.
Melbourne Bushfood’s Hayden Marks remains ever drawn to the stories behind each and every Australian native ingredient. “Take for example Wattleseed,” he explains. “It has been in use in Australia for thousands of years. It's so embedded within the culture of First Nations People that it symbolised the time to hunt eels, the seasons, and so much more.”
The cool thing is, adds Hayden, that every ingredient has its own story like this! “It will literally walk you back in history of Australia if you just dig a little deeper.”
The Melbourne Bushfood story starts in September 2019 with two passionate students a social mission to bring native ingredients to every Australian Pantry. It was born from deep and considered research and consultation with farmers, agricultural and social experts and First Nations People across Australia, in an effort to understand how native ingredients grew and how they could be sustainably sourced and made available to a wider market.
Since that fateful September, Melbourne Bushfood has grown from a standalone shop in a Melbourne market to a fully-fledged online store with more than 7000 deliveries across the globe to date!
The incredible native ingredients in Melbourne Bushfood products are all ethically and sustainably sourced from small farmers and Indigenous Communities across the country, with each pantry staple, bush tea and tasty treat made by hand in small batches. "Bushfoods offer exceptional culinary, nutritional, social and environmental benefits,” adds Hayden. From Vitamin C heroes like Kakadu Plum to Antioxidant powerhouses like Pepperberry and Jilungin, these babies are as nutritious as they are delicious.
When it comes to business models, “we don't just sell”, says Hayden simply. “We sell with a purpose: to support local farmers, improve their economic livelihood and give back to the society that has fought tooth and nail to maintain and preserve the knowledge we now use.” Hayden notes that sustainability is key for the long-term supply. “Due to Australia's harsh weather, uncontrolled foraging and a number of other factors, some of the native ingredients are in danger of extinction. By sustainable sourcing, we ensure we don't deplete these gifts by nature for the sake of future generations.”
Ethical supply is also of top priority. “Ethical supply is more geared towards the communities and farmers, ensuring they are well compensated and are not underpaid or unfairly treated in the procurement process,” says Hayden. “Ethical supply is about ensuring we credit and respect the preservers of the very culture we rely on to remain in business.”
All in all, Melbourne Bush Food is not only about giving us delicious native ingredients in high quality products. It’s also about giving back to society via profit sharing, community grants and corporate social responsibility, “building a business that's people oriented rather than simply profit oriented”, says Hayden.
Future plans for this amazing company include being totally plastic free by December 2021, establishing more community projects and participation, and increasing transparency through periodic reports into exactly what the company is doing and what they aim to accomplish. We can’t wait to see more!