About

The Outback Pride Project is promoting the Australian native food industry by developing the native food industry and supporting a network of production sites within traditional Aboriginal communities.

The cultivation of Australian native food provided indigenous Australians with jobs and training in horticulture and the food industry. The project also acknowledges the intellectual property and cultural ownership of the traditional uses of bush foods.

Foundation

Mike and Gayle QuarmbyThe Outback Pride Project was created by Mike and Gayle Quarmby of Reedy Creek, South Australia in 2001. Their aim was to provide opportunities for remote Aboriginal communities to access an industry where their traditional knowledge would be valued.

Gayle's family involvement with traditional communities goes back to 1932, when her father Rex Battarbee travelled in a model T Ford to the central Australian outback settlement of Hermannsburg, south west of Alice Springs. Read more about the Namatjira Connection here.

Mike Quarmby, a true "tree chaser" and innovator, brought to the project his 45 years of experience in business, product and supply chain development and innate skill with botany. Mike has pioneeded commercial cultivation in the native foods industry.

Mike and Gayle felt that their combined skills could provide a platform for a unique development in the bush food industry. The focus of the project is their vision of "Jobs and Training for Indigenous Australians". They saw that the bush food industry should be operated as a parallel to the aboriginal art industry. Both these industries have a unique cultural and commercial ownership by Indigenous Australians.

The Journey

ResearchThe journey, beginning in 2001, has taken Mike and Gayle on a complex and interesting path. Initially they spent time in the outback with aboriginal people researching the bush food species. While mapping the best types relative to their commercial potential, invaluable support was received from their good friend and botanist Peter Latz.

The next step was to create the systems of propagation and cultivation for up to 64 bush food species. This process continues to be ongoing and consumes a large amount of Mike's time. The systems developed at this time were then put into practice on numerous trial sites in across South Australia and Northern Territory.

Mike and Gayle have, during the development of Outback Pride, planted 500,000 native food plants over 26 Aboriginal communities and engaged with thousands of community members.

The brand Outback Pride was created as a sustainable outcome for the project.

Supply Chain

Mike and Gayle Quarmby's commercial Reedy Creek Nursery, in South Australia's South East, operates with ethical and environmentally positive principles and is the major fresh product supply chain for the Outback Pride brand and food service.

The arid zone native food products are also grown on remote Aboriginal communities, as part of the broader Outback Pride Project. Which has developed a network of bushfood production sites on traditional Aboriginal communities.

Reedy Creek provides the commercial base for research and development of all facets of the Outback Pride project, and wholly runs Outback Pride Fresh.

Historical Partnerships and Support

BuildingMike and Gayle decided initially to self fund the project and gave five years of their time at no cost to indigenous communities. After many years of mentoring, developing and supplying the plants, and helping the communities set up the growing systems, Mike and Gayle have been joined by various government departments, including ILC, DEWR, Works SA, Dept. of the Premier & Cabinet SA, Regional TAFE SA and Nganampa Health Council, who have also provided valuable support to the communities involved.

A big part of the Quarmby's vision was to incorporate accredited training for participants in the project. Groups of participants have been brought from communities to Reedy Creek Nursery to be able to access real industry work experience. A partnership between Reedy Creek Nursery and Regional TAFE SA supported this skill development process.

The Outback Cafe

Outcomes

In order to create an outcome for the participating indigenous communities, a co-op like value adding arm was developed. Combining the knowledge of traditional uses of the bushfoods with western food practices, the end use products are available under the brand name "Outback Pride".

The group of aboriginal communities that form the Outback Pride network represent the largest bushfood growing organization in Australia.

Now Located at Penola

Outback Pride at Cobb & Co

In 2015, Outback Pride entered a new phase, with the delegating of the Outback Pride grocery division and manufacturing of end products to new owners at Cobb & Co, Penola.

Vic and Maura Musolino have a desire to connect with sustainable food production of a truly Australian nature. They have taken on the challenge to migrate the Outback Pride manufacturing of hand crafted products and the distribution operations from Reedy Creek to Penola.

At Reedy Creek, Mike and Gayle under the Outback Pride Fresh banner continue to produce the herbs and fruit as the supply chain to Outback Pride at Cobb & Co in Penola.

In close collaboration with Mike and Gayle, Vic and Maura Musolino will continue to grow the Outback Pride brand, spreading awareness of the authentic native food story behind the products.