Growing up on the NSW South Coast, Yuin man Dominic Smith always had a love of nature and growing things. "I definitely inherited my maternal grandmother's green thumb," he says. He was drawn to do a certificate in conservation and land management, but it was the short course in aquaponics that really held his interest.
"As the course progressed, it became clear that I had a natural affiliation for aquaponics," says Dominic. "The business just snowballed from there."
With help from The Outback Spirit Foundation and Nunga Produce, Dominic started his business in 2014 with a vision to organically grow native products and fruit and vegetables in a sustainable way. The seven-hectare farm produces seasonal herbs and vegetables, along with natives like warrigal, rivermint, saltbush, sea parsley, sea celery and wattleseed.
"We have achieved enough growth in the business to employ one Aboriginal employee," says Dominic. "We are on our way to increase the employment opportunities for more."
Pundi Produce is also developing a work experience program to teach young Aboriginal people wanting to start their own aquaponics farm. Dominic was helped immensely by The Outback Spirit Foundation and Nunga Produce when he was starting out, with both supplying a wealth of information about the native food market and helping Dominic upgrade and expand his farm.