Indigenous Plants – Journey from Paddock to Plate: A new model for sustainable agriculture

The final workshop in the paddock to plate series funded by the Helen McPherson Smith Trust focused on engaging the Indigenous community about the value of native vegetables, as a source of nutritious and tasty foods, connecting to country and the potential for enterprise to the advantage of First Nations people.

The workshop included Chris Andrew from Black Duck Foods who spoke about the growing and commercialisation of traditional grains and tubers, and Dr Dorin Gupta from the University of Melbourne School of Agriculture and Food, who discussed why we need to explore more diverse diets and how native vegetables provide a sustainable and nutritious addition to our diets.

Downs Estate Community members also talked about the activity in local areas where communities can find places to grow and share food. This was followed by an invitation to an online cooking class with Nairm Marr Djambana’s Tim Hollands.

Special thanks to other contributors of the workshop, including Bruce Pascoe (Enterprise Professor in Indigenous Agriculture, University of Melbourne), Robyn Erwin (President, Down’s Estate Community Project), and Kerry Strickland (Treasurer, Nairm Marr Djambana).

The partnering of the knowledge from University of Melbourne’s FVAS with Frankston City Council’s Down’s Estate Community Farm and the First Nations families of the Nairm Marr Djambana has provided a community hub, where food and stories can be shared, and opportunities created to build and sustain community.

The project aimed to strengthen community partnerships through the growing and consuming of indigenous vegetables, and develop knowledge and skills in choosing and growing of appropriate vegetables in a sustainable and collaborative way, harnessing the technical knowledge of the University of Melbourne, first nations knowledge and community passion.

A community kitchen at the Down’s Estate was established with funding from the project which will allow diverse community groups to gather and share food and gain an understanding of the value and importance of nutritious sustainable foods.

With the newly equipped kitchen, the Down’s Community Farm builds capacity for the promotion of healthy eating, culinary innovations and horticultural training for local communities providing opportunities for improve public health and welfare.

The project also created a local distribution chain to allow the realisation of the value of crops, as well as increased reach in the community.

Visit this page to read more about the paddock-to-plate workshops.