Southern Wild is the creation of Ronald Aveling and Michele Diener.
Ronald is an aussie from the ‘mainland’ and Michele’s roots lie in New Mexico (USA). We’ve been foodie health nuts for quite some time and love the seemingly endless flavors and textures that vegetable fermentation offers.
How getting sick was our gateway into fermentation
Our immersion into the world of Wild Fermentation came about as a result of Ronald experiencing poor health. In about 2009 he was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia after struggling with the steady advancement of debilitating pain and almost non-existent energy levels for several years. The diagnosis of these so called incurable diseases seemed to be a harbinger of endless doom, gloom, pain and incapacity for the rest of his days.
After exhausting all of the advice and recommendations from conventional doctors he began a period of deep self inquiry. During this time of existential review, many alternative and experimental attempts were made to remedy the situation with mixed results. After several months, a few small glimpses of his former vitality began to re-emerge.
Dietary change – the path back to wellness
Many of these small, yet significant gains in his wellbeing seemed to be attributed to shifts in the food he consumed. With little else to run with, he followed his instincts and began researching the relationship between diet and health in much greater detail. In time he came to learn that his body was compromised from a diet and lifestyle that was too acidic and his digestive system had become overrun with candida albicans. He learned that a great deal of the seemingly disconnected symptoms of pain and fatigue were in many ways derived from his unhealthy gut ecology. These revelations instigated a dietary overhaul.
Immersion in all things briney at the Tree of Life
In early 2012 we relocated to Patagonia, Arizona in order to live and work at the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center run by Dr. Gabriel Cousens. The Tree promoted a raw, vegan and low glycemic diet for all guests and community members. Our adoption of highly alkaline and restorative diet provided at the tree became a transformative catalyst for our overall health and wellness. Living in this community was a highly educational and inspirational journey and we learned a great deal about ourselves and how the food we consume is intrinsically linked to how we look, and more importantly feel.
Ronald’s background and experience in food and hospitality was perfectly suited for the position of Raw Food Chef at the Tree of Life Cafe. And it was there in the cafe that his fermentation fetish sprang to life. He lost himself in the world of wild fermentation and became known as “the kraut man” at the centre.
Every week provided the chance to concoct a new and wondrous creation for the guests and staff. Sauerkrauts, kimchis, pickles and more were manifest with much merriment and the fermentation bug had well and truly found friends in us. Our goal since then has been to establish a small fermentation business to support the community in which we live.
A stint in the city of angels
Throughout this period we continued to explore fermentation in it’s many forms. We got hooked on water kefirs, ginger bugs, injera and a maze of other wild and wonderful ferments. Our time in Los Angeles was jam packed with wonderful people and opportunities but our long term goal was to live a simpler life that was closer to the wild wonders of mother nature.
How we ended up in Tasmania
We spent six weeks exploring the exotic wonders of Tassie in 2009 and became utterly enamoured with everything that it is. It took us a while to get here and birth this humble little enterprise, but now that we finally made it back we couldn’t be happier. We started Southern Wild in 2015 and are genuinely excited to provide a quality local alternative to the mainland ferments for the good folk of Tasmania!