Bruce Pascoe is working hard to reintroduce native grains and flours into Australia’s food system. Easier to grow and more nutritious than European-introduced wheat, Bruce’s work is as much about protecting the grasses as it is about protecting the knowledge.
Aboriginal Australians used, and still use, over 600 different species of plants for food and medicine. Before white settlement they had an intimate knowledge of the land, her plants and animals, the seasons and how they all interacted together.
These plants were perfectly suited to the Australian environment, growing without fertilisers, pesticides or irrigation. They fed and sustained Aboriginal Australians for thousands of years. Yet when white people colonised Australia they brought plants and foods from Europe which weren’t suited to our soils, our climate or our bush. They brought sheep that compressed the soil and damaged a land that had been cared for through an intimate connection that stretched back tens of thousands of years. The oldest evidence of Aboriginal civilisation is from 65,000 years ago, making Australia’s Indigenous civilisation the oldest living on earth.