Rosie Smith is a farmer in the Birrego district, west of Wagga Wagga. Rosie, her partner Graham Strong and his parents Garth and Jan operate merino sheep and cereal cropping enterprises on two farms, Arcadia and Oakvale. As an additional farm business enterprise, Rosie is developing a native plant seed bank and native seed orchards.
Seeds of plants indigenous to the Wagga Wagga region are in great demand. Landcare groups and farmers propagate and plant local species to reverse ecological problems like salinity. Before agricultural development, grassy woodlands cloaked most of the Wagga Wagga region. Due to clearing for agriculture, many grassy woodland plants are today restricted to roadsides and state forests. Rosie collects small amounts of seed from these remnant populations.
On Arcadia and Oakvale, she and Graham are planting thousands of local trees, shrubs and grasses as seed orchards. Rosie will collect seed from the plants as they mature. In a back room of Oakvale homestead, Rosie stores the native plant seed in dry and cool conditions, secure from insects.