Follow the Flowers to a better world

Follow the Flowers to a better world

Posted 06 May 2022
Indigenous Apiarist and Mentor Mal Clifford (SOURCE: Outback Academy Australia)

Beekeeping in Western Australia with Indigenous apiarist and mentor Mal Clifford (SOURCE: Outback Academy Australia)

Outback Academy Australia’s (OAA) lead initiative, Follow the Flowers, is well underway with scaling up national production of honey and Australian Native Wildflowers with First Nations farmers across the country including NSW, VIC, SA, WA and the ACT.

Follow the Flowers connects First Nations and other regenerative farmers that share the same values to expand their national and international supply opportunities. The initiative commenced with honey, food including bush foods, and Australian Native Wildflowers for known buyers.

In partnership with OAA and supporting business development of Follow the Flowers farmers, honey, and wildflowers producers, IBA is working with OAA to further develop farmers and the supply chain opportunity under the national brand.

Neville Atkinson, OAA National Business Development Lead said, “Follow the Flowers farmers are committed to working together as an ethical, authentic and connected supply group, similar to Fairtrade. They are focused on viable supply chain business that will return economic, social and environmental benefits to the communities and regions where they are located.”

Also supported by the Murray Darling Basin Economic Development program (MDBEDP) for Murray Corridor farmers, and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) in WA, these farmers are being fast-tracked for capability building and business opportunities in agriculture, horticulture and linked industries such as tourism and environmental management.

First honey pour at Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative Farm Mooroopna Victoria SOURCE: Outback Academy Australia

First honey pour at Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative Farm Mooroopna Victoria (SOURCE: Outback Academy Australia)

Skills development includes shoulder to shoulder learning on farms with industry leaders in agriculture, environmental management, climate change and new technologies for waste, water and energy management.

There are currently 22 farms in the process of scaling up for this business opportunity with some scheduled as capability building bases for youth and others needing a hand-up into this sector.

Kelly Flugge, WA OAA Business Development Lead noted, “Capability building needs to reflect knowledge, including place-based traditional ecological knowledge, skills and technologies for now and a future where the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events are impacting on food sustainability and food security. Past agricultural practices have contributed to the state of the environment now. Our farmers are committed to repairing Country while doing business on their lands.”