What is your venture?
In August, 2015 we (Amanda, Geoff, Angus and Toby) took possession of the lease of Edah Pastoral Station, a 250,000 acre former sheep station east of Yalgoo and the Spelt Project (read below) took an interesting new direction. We are putting an intense amount of energy into the new project as they develop the homestead and infrastructure of the station and start to work out what is needed to maintain life in their slice of the Southern Rangelands.
The flour motif raised its head when the weather warmed up in spring and the acacias started bringing forth a wealth of seeds. Amazed at the variety and fecundity of the acacias, we saw the potential for another source of flour to complement the spelt – and by extension – started looking at the idea of bushfood. Armed with the local bibles ‘Wajarri Wisdom’ by Estelle Leyland and ‘Digging for Food’ by Dora Dann we started to identify, collect and process different seeds and plant material that could be used as bush food and medicine.
Edah the homestead is a compound of buildings that will work well as a site for retreats and workshops. Alongside the sheep business being developed by our partners, we aim to create a business utilising Edah land that is rich in plant and animal biodiversity and possessed of an awesome beauty.
I’m into the second year of an agricultural endeavour known as The Spelt Project. The project was sparked by the desire to create a loaf of bread from scratch and in June 2015 she put in 40 acres of spelt at Wahroonga’ Farm 30 kms east of Geraldton. Yvonne Marsden, the owner of the farm has been producing lambs and wool for many years and was happy to contribute land, machinery and time into growing an experimental crop of spelt without chemicals.
To deal with the two tonnes harvested from the previous season’s harvest, we created a label ‘Speltwell Grain’ and started marketing the flour she milled from the raw grain. Along the way we created a few sourdough bread-making workshops with baker and foodie Emma from Yuin Station in the Murchison.
A small group from Hope Community services in Rosella House were galvanised by a workshop run by Emma and have developed regular baking days where they continue to make sourdough bread and experiment with creating products for the local markets. Now I’m working with the staff and clients at Rosella House and all are excited by the idea of collaboration in the grain/flour business.
What’s inspired your work?
My work is ispired by our natural landscape, a desire to keep close to the land that sustains all life and a love of natural processes. Food security, food as medicine, food as nutrition are things that inspire me to action.
What’s your focus for the next 3 months?
Specifically in the next month I will be collecting, identifying and sorting acacia seeds from Edah Station with a view to experimenting with it in flour form – as well as harvesting a spelt crop in December.
In a broader sense I am looking for others who are already on this path and willing to learn with me. This means talking to local Aboriginal people interested and knowledgeable about bushfoods; bodies like Australian Bush Foods Institute Ltd interested in driving market interest in WA products and chefs with the ability to create beautiful food from these products.. .
How can people connect or contribute to your venture’s success?
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Edah-Heavenly-Pastoral-Co-1069905016373701/ and if you are interested in bushfoods and supporting a different model for pastoral activity, ring me on 0459 991 627
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