FOR four years a team of passionate landcarers near Katanning have been developing a paddock-to-plate supply chain using saline bush foods.
"Salinity is a major issue facing southern Australian agriculture," said Katanning Landcare officer Ella Maesepp,
She said finding ways to produce viable food crops from salt-affected land, while improving its environmental condition could be a game-changer.
The project combined the expertise of host farm Moojepin Foods, gourmet food marketer Wagoga, Chatfields Engineering, Charlotte Creek Horticultural, soil scientists from Terra Perma, and Katanning Landcare.
After intensive work developing three growing systems - Wild Harvest, Plantation and Shadehouse - growing both consumer awareness and a nationwide customer base and establishing a new packing facility, the people behind the Saline Bush Foods project are delighted to release their industry overview manual.
"The manual is compilation of years of research, mistakes, successes and product development, all captured into one overview document," Ms Maesepp said.
"We hope it will help other landholders with salinity on their property to make an informed choice as to whether the saline bush foods industry may be right for them."
Supported by the National Landcare Program Smart Farming Partnerships, the project developed four product lines - samphire, saltbush, pigface (karkalla) and ice-plant - growing them on saline land or irrigated with saline groundwater.
The products have been enthusiastically received by the restaurant and hospitality industry, including top restaurants such as Sydney's Quay restaurant and Fleur restaurant in Perth, as well as venues in Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne.
On March 24, landholders who are considering taking the next step into production will be able to attend a training day held at the project site on David and Sue Thompson's Badgebup property at Moojepin.
"At this event, we'll delve deep into the details of how to set-up and run these growing systems," Ms Maesepp said.
"The entire project team will be there to work closely with keen landholders, as we look toward sustainably and incrementally growing the saline foods industry."
Free copies of the manual are available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 9821 4327.
Applications for the training course will open at a later date.
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