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HomeNewsFirst PeoplesNative Foodways – ‘Baking is one part of what we do’

Native Foodways – ‘Baking is one part of what we do’

Native Foodways is a First Nations owned and led social enterprise partnering with people from communities across Australia.

Working alongside partners – growing, harvesting, processing, cooking and sharing – the enterprise strengthens the native food system in a way that is regenerative, culturally respectful and beneficial to First Peoples.

In this first in a series of feature articles, Corey Grech from Native Foodways talks about making delicious bread with native ingredients.

“Baking is one part of what we do. We see it as being important. My people are the oldest bakers in the world.

“We bake Oldman Saltbush into a mix of ancient, heirloom and regenerative grains. We hope to start introducing native grains into our bread soon.

“Native Foodways sources its native grains from Black Duck Foods. Some of the grass is grown and harvested at Yumburra (Black Duck Farm) on Yuin country (just south of the Victorian border). It’s good working with Uncle Bruce Pascoe and everyone there – you can read more about it in Uncle Bruce’s book (Black Duck: A Year at Yumburra, 2024). We have other farms in the network, too.

“Our farmers are growing button grass, Mitchell grass (ganalay), kangaroo grass. There’s a lot to learn about it, and I’m really interested. The native grasses are deep rooted, perennial, self-sustaining.

“We have the native flour for sale, if people want to try making their own bread. I know a lot of people got into that during the lockdowns.

“We make our bread in partnership with All Purpose Bakery. To get a good quality sourdough you really need the time, space and equipment. These are huge factors. We developed a partnership with them, collaborating on a product. We’re the only people getting that product from them at the moment.

“Currently, we offer a Saltbush Fenugreek Loaf and then there’s a Saltbush Country Loaf. Really good quality bread, with a mixture of grains. We’re working toward having a proportion of native grains in the formula.

“Native grain is low-gluten, like spelt. The dough doesn’t rise fully the way you think it might, which is better for your gut, I suppose, higher in protein.

“The loaves we get from AP Bakery are massive, they’re doubles, then we cut them in half. You’ll definitely go through it. I reckon once people taste it, they’ll just love it. It’s got a chewy outer, and when it’s fresh, it’s so spongy in the middle. The Saltbush Country Loaf is really popular. We sell it over the counter, and you can order online, too.”

Native Foodways opened in October 2023. After a period at Carriageworks markets “slugging it out on Saturdays”, the bakery opened in the Wintergarden food court at 1 O’Connell Street in the City.

Open Monday to Friday, 7am to 2pm, there’s a whole range of nourishing native delectables – bread, pies, puff pastries, bagels, sandwiches, salads and cakes. Ask Corey about catering, and visit the website for field notes and information about special projects.

https://nativefoodways.com.au

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