SPONSORED: South Australian Indigenous vegetable grower Nunga Produce has grown its business by double thanks to its long-term partnership with Coles supermarkets.

Supplying Coles has given Nunga Produce the confidence to expand its operations of growing crops and purchasing vegetables and herbs, by providing the scale and strength of operations required to supply one of the country’s largest supermarkets.

In partnership with non-Aboriginal couple Juliette and Nigel Tripodi, co-owners and Indigenous couple Ron and Elizabeth Newchurch said the growth has come with increased staffing for the business, which now includes six additional employees, including three Indigenous team members.

“Working with Coles has been fantastic. Since we started supplying Coles with spring onions in 2016, we have been provided with the security to expand our growing capabilities, while supporting Indigenous employment and mentoring other Aboriginal growers,” Mr Newchurch said.

“Coles’ team has helped us and our suppliers get the quality assurance, food safety certificates and processes we need to supply a national supermarket chain, which has helped us to become an overall sustainable business.”

In its early days, Nunga operated as an enterprise supporting other local Aboriginal farmers to launch economically sustainable businesses, by sharing knowledge to improve the quality of crops and providing a market for their produce.

Now the business supplies a portion of Coles’ state supply of pak choy, as well as more than 3,000 bunches of spring onions in Coles supermarkets in South Australia — an amount which is expected to double next month.

Nunga Produce also partners with various Aboriginal growers across the state to supply herbs and vegetables to larger retailers under the Matjarra (meaning silver wattle tree) brand, providing close to 5,000 herbs and vegetables to other retailers.

Coles Head of Indigenous Affairs Russell James said Coles is committed to strengthening its Indigenous supplier network.

“By building strong supplier relationships, we’re invested in supporting businesses like Nunga Produce grow to scale so that we can offer our customers the best quality products and produce from the best local suppliers in the country,” Mr James said.

One of the ways in which Coles can help Indigenous businesses is through the Coles Nurture Fund.

Since its establishment in 2015, the Coles Nurture Fund has provided more than $19 million to 50 different food and grocery producers to help them to develop new products, technologies or processes.

Small businesses can apply for a grant from the Nurture Fund by logging onto https://www.coles.com.au/corporate-responsibility/coles-nurture-fund and submitting an application before August 30.