Look after Country and Country will look after you. This sentiment, though an ancient cornerstone of many Indigenous Australian cultures, has proven to be increasingly relevant in the move towards environmental sustainability in recent years. And for many Indigenous-owned businesses, this idea also lives on through their work. From the use of locally sourced native ingredients to shaping opportunities and pathways in Indigenous communities, the legacy of Indigenous craft continues to be cherished.
Thanks to its Mediterranean climate and fertile soil, South Australia has long been one step ahead when it comes to producing a wide variety of high-quality and unique native ingredients. It comes as no surprise then, that it’s home to some of Australia's most productive agricultural regions, including the Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills and Clare Valley. The state’s strong focus on sustainability and ethical food production is never more present than with its First Nations producers, many of whom are leaders in creating one of a kind produce from local sources.
Here are five Indigenous-owned producers from in and around Kaurna Country who are preserving and reconciling ancient Indigenous knowledge through the modern innovation of their work.
Save 20% when you buy two or more Broadsheet books. Order now to make sure they arrive in time for Christmas.SHOP NOW
A love letter to Australia’s native ingredients, Warndu, is an Indigenous owned curator of native ingredients based in the internationally renowned wine region of Clare. A joint project between founders Rebecca Sullivan, Siobhan O’Toole and Adnyamathanha and Dieri educator Damien Coulthard, Warndu is has been a purveyor of aromatic spices, flavourful teas and nourishing skincare products since 2014.
Each product aims to reflect a diverse and rich source of native ingredients that have been used for generations and are now finding new life in Warndu’s contemporary cuisines and wellness practices.
Warndu not only shares recipes using native plants, nuts, seeds and proteins, but also works in partnership with Indigenous communities, harvesters and growers all across Australia to provide more opportunities for Indigenous people in the food industry.
Nood Australia is a majority Aboriginal-owned wholesaler devoted to using the healing properties of native Australian botanicals in its home and skin care products. The Yarta range uses ingredients such as eucalyptus, Kakadu plum, wattleseed, and lemon myrtle, and is designed to provide a rejuvenating experience while nourishing the skin and hair. Its Wardli range offers eco-friendly cleaning solutions using native Australian botanicals.
As well as working to nourish the body and the home, Nood is also committed to nourishing community. The Nood Foundation works towards building self-sufficient, sustainable commercial environments that aim to foster economic growth for future generations of Indigenous communities.
Though Indigenous-owned food supplier Something Wild operates out of Adelaide Central Market, it also sells produce to some of Australia’s top restaurants.
Something Wild offers a range of premium, sustainable and ethically sourced meats, seafood, and native Australian ingredients. This includes a range of specialty game meats such as kangaroo, emu, camel – and even green ants, ordered dry or in a bottle of Green Ant Gin for those looking to wet their whistle. For those less keen on bugs, there’s also the Wattleseed Lager made from Australian acacia plant seeds.
Like many of the producers and suppliers on this list, Something Wild goes beyond just sourcing native Australian cuisine. Looking after Country means not just the flora and fauna of the land, but the people as well – from engaging Indigenous harvesters and employees through the business, to fostering positive relationships with communities and creating economic opportunities for local mob. Something Wild is something truly unique to South Australia.
Munda is the Wirangu and Kokatha word for land – an apt name for this winery located in the Adelaide Hills, which blends traditional Indigenous techniques with modern sustainable winemaking practices. This includes selecting grape varieties best suited to the region and using sustainable farming methods to ensure long-term harmony with the land.
According to co-founder Paul Vandenbergh, Indigenous Australians were some of the first cultures to ferment beverages for ceremonial purposes. And yet Indigenous winemakers are vastly underrepresented in the wine industry. Munda Wines works with the Tjindu Foundation to create pathways and opportunities for more Indigenous Australians in various fields of the wine industry, so they can promote the names of the lands beyond Barossa and McLaren Vale.
Moonrise Seaweed Co – Australia-wide
Just as a harmonic relationship with Land Country is important for Indigenous business owners, so too is a healthy relationship with Sea Country.
Following a successful crowdfunding campaign, the co-founders of Moonrise Seaweed Co, married duo Chloe and Brad Darkson, have been harnessing the power of seaweed for ecological regeneration since 2022. Located on Kaurna Yarta, Moonrise Seaweed Co is 50 per cent First Nations-owned through Brad’s Narungga heritage and is dedicated to creating a community-scaled, culturally informed and climate-friendly ocean farm. Through collaboration with First Nations elders and community, Moonrise Seaweed Co is designing and implementing a pilot regenerative seaweed farm that prioritises cultural protocols and Sea Country custodianship. All the while, Moonrise Seaweed Co produces snacks, seasonings (like sea salt and golden kelp), and bath soaks infused with seaweed.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with South Australia – A New State of Mind.