the Future Through Enterprise -
Australians Embarking on the Enterprise Journey
Australia and Northern Territory
Story So Far...
Pride was developed as an enterprise to enable Indigenous communities to benefit
from the opportunities in the Australian native food industry. In 1998,
Mike and Gayle Quarmby from Reedy Creek Nursery in Kingston, south west
South Australia made a commitment to the development and facilitation of
development demanded many kilometres of travel by the Quarmbys, collecting
seeds and plants, sharing information and building relationships with
local Indigenous communities.
and Gayle Quarmby have a long, deep seeded respect for Indigenous people
and their culture. Gayle's father, Rex Battarbee, was passionate about
assisting Indigenous communities in achieving self sufficiency. He
fostered the talent of Indigenous artists such as Albert Namatjira and
founded the Hermannsburg watercolour movement. When Mike and Gayle's son
Daniel passed away in 1998, the Quarmbys made a commitment to developing
Outback Pride. The Quarmbys wanted to develop a programme with Indigenous
communities that provided them with economic benefit, sustained knowledge
of the land and its produce, and Outback Pride is an ambitious programme
designed to promote and expand the Australian native food industry.
Outback Pride is also a wonderful tribute to how Indigenous and
non-Indigenous people can work together in successful enterprise ventures.
15 Indigenous communities within South Australia and the Northern
Territory are actively involved in the project, growing produce which is
subsequently manufactured into 42 different retail products. The project
uses the agriculture of Australian bush foods to create employment, income
and improve health within rural and remote communities. importantly,
provided employment options to Indigenous young people. The project
formally commenced in 2001.
joint venture simply involves Indigenous groups and communities
establishing their own bush plots with seedlings provided by Reedy Creek
grow and harvest the native foods which are purchased back by the
Quarmby's for processing, marketing and distribution. Using traditional
knowledge, plants appropriate to the region are selected to be propagated
and returned to communities to be grown. Selection of specific species for
each community is made according to certain criteria including local
Indigenous species, marketability, climatic factors, transport and
skills base. All plants grown within communities are Indigenous to that
area, which has two key benefits.
people within the specific community are already familiar with the growing
and harvesting of these products. Training is reduced as people are
continuing the tradition of harvesting plants that have been known to
their local community for thousands of years. Secondly, as species planted
are relevant to the physical and environmental aspects of a specific
area, there is little need for additional irrigation.
plot of 15, 000 plants may only require the same amount of water as used
by one domestic household per year. Also, the hardiness of many Australian
plants means that grey water can also be used for watering.
than 200,000 bush food plants, consisting of 25 different species are now
being cultivated within participating communities. Communities are able to
own and create enterprises. They utilise CDEP labour and incorporate TAFE
training. The size of plots and number of species harvested depends on the
vision and commitment of communities. Plants are selected that will
provide crop output within one growing season, providing produce and
income for communities soon after the project commences. Where possible, a
broad base of species is grown to allow for ongoing diversification of
production in the long term. A wide range of diverse Indigenous groups and
communities are currently involved in the project, including:
Piltengi Yunti - Murray Bridge;
- Port Victoria;
- Mt Gambier;
- North Flinders;
Springs - North Flinders;
Council - Alice Springs;
Accomodation Facility - Ceduna;
CDEP - Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands;
project has been designed as a stepping stone for enterprise development
in a relatively low financial risk, low cost area. A Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) has been formed between each community and Reedy Creek
Nursery which guarantees continued mentoring and produce purchase for up
to five years. The MOU also ensures continued support and development and
a continued supply of plants. A commitment has been made through the
Outback Pride programme to provide plants and research and share
intellectual property only with Indigenous communities.
Outback Pride programme guarantees purchase of 100% of all quality
project also provides communities with fresh produce for their own
Quarmby explains Reedy Creek's relationship with the project - 'it's a
very important point that the ownership and the intellectual knowledge of
the project is with the communities that we are working with. They must
know and feel that it is their knowledge that is driving the project. Mike
and I are just bringing our expertise in partnership on an equal footing
with the communities that we are working with'.
is currently value-added by being manufactured into 42 different
products, which are subsequently sold to the domestic and overseas
market. The produce is brought by restaurants, selected retail outlets and
is now being sold in Harrods in London. Outback Pride products include
such delicacies as -
and chilli sauce;
in apple sauce; and
wide variety of dried herbs.
Pride is evolving with the stated objective of eventual full Indigenous
ownership. The original aim saw this goal within five years, although
training issues have slowed the project's potential. Mike and Gayle
Quarmby are working with Indigenous Business Australia to facilitate
improvements to achieve the ownership goal.
commitment by the Quarmbys' has driven the project. As CDEP National
News reported - 'All time and effort put into this project by Mike and
Gayle, together with the use of facilities and staff at Reedy Creek
Nursery...has fast tracked the development of the project to date'.
Issues to Achieving Business
Outback Pride programme faces four critical challenges to achieve project
Ownership and Engagement
success of the project is dependent on the motivation, ownership and
engagement of the community. Projects are labour intensive and require
commitment from the community to have produce planted, harvested and
maintained regularly. Best results have occurred within communities where
the community has actively sought involvement following extensive
consultation. Mike Quarmby explains '...the project must be entirely
wanted by community members, the attitude must be 'yes we want to do
this'. It is not a short term project. In fact we're looking at maybe...
generations before it comes an integral part of the communitylife'.
is essential that supervisors of the project, whether they are community
leaders or CDEP managers, have the leadership capacity to produce
involved in the project need to be "hands on" and be able to
motivate community members to achieve production levels.
is a critical issue in the development of the Outback Pride programme.
possible, Outback Pride has formed partnerships with TAFE to facilitate
appropriate training, although this has been a slow process that has
caused many delays in the expansion of the project.
Pride has recently received funding for the expansion of accommodation and
training rooms at Reedy Creek in South Australia. This facility will be
used in conjunction with TAFE to train in areas such as horticulture and
of Production Levels
growth is dependent on the amount of produce cultivated within Indigenous
communities. Simply, the more communities can produce, the greater the
amount of manufactured goods that can be produced for sale. Currently, the
supply of produce is not meeting market demand. An increase in production
levels and the expansion of crops under production is a goal for existing
and future growing communities. Increased production levels within
communities will facilitate a sustainable income that will generate
real employment options.
and Gayle Quarmby
Creek, SA, 5275
(08) 8768 7220
(08) 8768 7209