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This is grassroots social change

5 minutes with the founders of Bush to Bowl

By Felicity Bonello

Born from an innate need to nurture Country and share their knowledge of traditional Aboriginal culture, Clarence Bruinsma and Adam Byrne created Bush to Bowl. This 100 percent Aboriginal owned and operated eco bushfood nursery, wholesaler and educational social enterprise is focused on making a change in the way people see, connect and use Country to live on. We caught up with Clarence to find out about the Bush to Bowl offering and how we can all get involved.

What is Bush to Bowl?

Adam and I have made it our mission to help educate people on the range of Australian bushfoods available as an alternative to commercially introduced species, which add little value to our Mother Earth and the ongoing healing she needs. We value our culture and wish to bring everyone closer to our First Nations mobs and our stories connected to this Country through our foods and medicines.

It’s your mission to create spaces where families and community members can engage with Australia’s native plants and traditional Aboriginal knowledge and culture. What are some of the activities people can experience through your organisation and how can people get involved?

We value connection with people and helping them to learn about our culture through our foods be it:

    • Selling them a plant at the nursery
    • Installing native gardens rich in bushfoods and medicines
    • Guided bushwalks and food experiences
    • Catering with Bushfoods infused foods

With everything we do we aim to share our perspective of Country and culture and how all people can connect with our First Nations Australians, whether it’s sharing a cup of Lemon myrtle or walking through the bush. Adam and I are never short of a yarn and opportunities to share our learning and journey.

We have a volunteer program where people can get on board to learn about our plants by either working with the team at the nursery or at the farm.

The Bush to Bowl team: L-R Adam Byrne, Clarence Bruinsma, Anthony Freeman
The Bush to Bowl team: L-R Adam Byrne, Clarence Bruinsma, Anthony Freeman

Your nursery is a special place ever evolving and every move or decision you make is based on your philosophies; what are your philosophies?

From the first moment we started Bush to Bowl we focused on sustainability, reuse, repurpose and recycle whilst we create plants that look after Country and people. We have tables built out of reused crates, pots are secondhand, and our signs are made from eco ply timber. Everything you see is carefully collected and considered in how we ensure we reduce waste and create a better place for our next generation. We must think, Country first.

How is Bush to Bowl working with other businesses? 

We are building a wholesalers market for produce, plants and landscaping. We have businesses changing their menus to include our produce as they taste great whilst also being organic and healthier in so many ways. We have a nursery selling our plants and companies come to us wanting to incorporate bushfoods in everyday landscaping or internal offices, allowing for a beautiful garden or space which is rich in edible foods.

How can we help protect, preserve, and give back to culture and country?

Our focus is connecting people with Country and community with the ultimate goal of healing Mother Earth. So we would love for people to engage with us for a yarn, co-create spaces with us, and collaborate on inspiring ways to provide delicious, healthy foods and plants to the community.  We are a social enterprise with a goal to create good healthy jobs for local Aboriginal and regional people.

We would love it if a business or person out there feels they have a way we can grow and provide further job opportunities for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal people, whether it’s through a job lead or a smashing development of a product that involves bushtucker.

Adam and I love Country, people and having the opportunity to help build a strong community that’s in a better place than when we found it.

A Bush to Bowl wattle seed infused pancake
A Bush to Bowl wattle seed infused pancake

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