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Bush Tomato grower & arid land horticulturist Max Emery works the red land in the heart of Austr

Max Emery lives and works as an expert arid land horticulturist, and bush food researcher and grower at Desert Garden Produce in the red centre of Australia at Rainbow Valley, one of the hottest places in the nation. Located 110km from Alice Springs, it’s hard to imagine what can grow in the harsh desert conditions that can reach up to 48 degrees. It’s one of the most difficult places in Australia to learn how to grow anything.

Native bush tomatoes have been a staple of Aboriginal food culture, conditioned to grow in such arid land, however in the wild it is almost impossible to get a seed or plant lateral clone to grow in a different environment or location, even as little as 5kms from the original location. Thanks to Max’s research on a carbon mixture, the plant will relocate to dozens of variable locations.

“Once the plants have been through the process, the seeds from the original host carry the improvement and will thrive almost anywhere,” Max says. “It makes it possible to enhance and improve yield and flavour to most native food plants.” He explains, “This has now changed the whole methodology of organic farming. It now allows us to go to almost any area in Australia, and be able to rectify pathagenic soil disease problems. It has also made it possible to farm productively land that was once declared useless, especially in the Arid Zone regions.

Max shares his expertise with new Aboriginal farmers wanting to grow native bush tomatoes commercially. The #outbackspirit Foundation helps raise funds for such programs that enable Max to help new indigenous native food growers in remote regions. The Outback Spirit Foundation is proud to help Aboriginal farmers develop sustainable enterprises to grow bush foods commercially on their land, for their economic independence and to help persevere the status of native foods in Aboriginal culture.

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