We were privileged to have Christopher Jakobi come down to our Nursery, on Bunurong country, to talk about native plants and First Nations culture. Jakobi is a Gunditjimara and Djab Wurrung man who works as the cultural and sustainability education programs coordinator at the Royal Botanic Gardens. He shared many insights about the ways that some of the plants that we grow at our nursery have been used historically and in the present by First Nations people in the area.
We have been growing native and indigenous plants for over twenty years, and during this time have amassed a collection of plants that can be used for food, tools, medicine, and various ecological applications. While we have extensive experience propagating these plants for ecosystem restoration projects, we lack the knowledge that First Nations people have amassed over tens of thousands of years of cultivating and consuming them.
Along with their traditional uses, Jakobi shared his first-hand experience utilising native plant materials for food, tools, and medicine as well as cultural burning. He also shared with us his insights into the burgeoning ‘bushfood’ industry and the strides being made in commercialising these plants as crops for the culinary industry. Our nursery is proud to support some of these trials on commercial cultivation of some native plants for food for traditional owner groups. Jakobi’s talk highlighted the importance of collaboration and knowledge sharing between native plant nurseries and First Nations community groups, and we look forward to working on this within our own operations into the future.