NATURAL WOMAN: Native food farmer Rebecca Barnes.
NATURAL WOMAN: Native food farmer Rebecca Barnes.

The NOMA effect is natural

REBECCA Barnes calls it the Noma effect.

When the world’s best chef, Rene Redzepi relocated his acclaimed restaurant Noma to Sydney earlier this year for a 10-week pop up, and based his menu entirely on Australia native foods, it had an immediate impact.

Demand for native foods soared, leaving growers in Australia’s still relatively small industry struggling to keep up with supply.

“The world’s gone berserk, everyone wants it, we’re getting enquiries from everywhere,” said Rebecca, who has been part of the native food industry for more than a decade and runs native food stall, Playing With Fire, at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market.

It was if Redzepi opened our eyes to these ingredients, giving us a new appreciation of what has always been in our backyard and sustained Indigenous Australia for thousands of years.

Rebecca is now mentoring Aboriginal farmers to start their own native food farms and says the diversity of Australian native foods is incredible.

“The East Coast Aboriginals had the world’s richest traditional diet. They had seafood, they had land meats, they had fruit and veg- they had it all,” she said.

Science is also starting to reveal that native foods were the original superfoods - rich in antioxidants, minerals and anti-inflammatory.

Growing native foods is about as low maintenance as it gets, and low impact farming practices equal a big win for the environment and sustainability: “At out farm we mow the grass- that’s about as much maintenance as we do,” said Rebecca. “We don’t fertilise, there’s no pest control. We don’t to do these things because the soil is right, and the conditions are right.”

  • Find Playing With Fire at the Mullum Farmers Market every Friday.

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