04/11/2010 - 00:00

Samudra– deliciously sustainable

04/11/2010 - 00:00

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A yoga-inspired company in Dunsborough is realising its owners’ vision for sustainable living. Aimée Sargent reports.

Samudra– deliciously sustainable

FEW people would drive three hours just for a drink, but according to the staff at Samudra that’s exactly what some of their loyal Perth-based guests do, eager to get a taste of the establishment’s homemade chai tea.

Samudra founder and director Sheridan Hammond says the purpose-built venue, much like the aromatic Indian beverage, is “unlike anything else in the world”.

A big call maybe, yet Mr Hammond says Samudra, located in a surprisingly tranquil spot next to the creek in central Dunsborough, offers a bit of everything – a cafe, daily yoga and surfing classes, organic clothing and fresh produce.

The philosophy of Samudra, which takes its name from a Sanskrit word meaning ‘ocean’, is based on Mr Hammond’s dream to “be a beacon of a truly sustainable and ethical way of life”.

Before opening Samudra two years ago, Mr Hammond had run yoga and surfing retreats in various Australian and international locations since 2004. And while he came home to the South West each year to host local retreats, he longed to move back permanently.

“I grew up in Gracetown so it was always about coming home, and over time I found this property,” Mr Hammond says.

“It was two years from the design stage to opening, and since then it only just feels like we’ve just come out of that start-up phase; we’re now getting really busy coming into our third year.”

Visitors to Samudra can wander through the organic vegetable garden, take a seat on the custom made furniture sourced from derelict boats in Indonesia and enjoy meals from the ‘live’ food cafe.

Live, or raw food as it is often known, is uncooked food, which retains the essential nutrients often lost through conventional cooking methods. Mr Hammond says most of the salad ingredients and herbs are picked from Samudra’s on-site biodynamic produce garden.

Mr Hammond told Gusto his journey back to a South West base hasn’t been without its challenges, but the response so far is a positive step. He credits his carefully selected team for making the dream a reality.

Samudra has 36 employees who work in the cafe or teach classes, or both. Mr Hammond, an ashtanga yoga devotee, still teaches classes five days a week and is actively involved in managing the staff, in addition to running the business with the backing of a silent partner.

“It definitely has its challenges, but we’re building a strong management team now so that’s really helping; my wife is a surf instructor as well,” he says.

Mr Hammond and his management team have created a signature Samudra-branded food line – based on macrobiotic and raw food principles – which primarily avoids the use of highly processed or refined foods.

The products are currently distributed through 26 retail outlets in Australia, and will also be available from the new Samudra website, scheduled to go live in the next week.

Also in the pipeline are 10 ‘mother ships’ around the world, which Mr Hammond says will be the same as Samudra in Dunsborough, along with a few satellite stores that will “give a bit of a taste of Sumudra”.

“We’re looking at opening our first satellite store in the next six months, probably in the Subiaco area,” he says.

“Basically, what we are trying to do is have an impact on positive change and demonstrate sustainable ways of operating a business, that’s what we’re putting a lot of our energy behind.”

 

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