The beginnings : the seeds for the idea of a loose business connection focused on native foods were sown when three founding members of the association got together at a Clarendon Agricultural Bureau* meeting in circa 1995. These were Mike and Karen Brandwood, Ken Dyer and Pam Gummell (both of Turners Gully, Clarendon) and Ray and Pat Rogers (McLaren Flat). Through the agency of the Ag. Bureau, other interested local individuals and a few from further afield held an initial meeting in 1996. From this, the early members developed a Landcare-based association whose primary role was to promote native food species in the Southern Adelaide Hills. The association became incorporated in the same year as SOUTHERN VALES BUSH FOODS (SVBF).

The group’s activities included property visits and a stall at the Willunga Farmers’ Market. Membership of twenty to thirty was maintained with a core group of about ten and the inevitable turnover of members as their interest waxed and waned. Nevertheless the enthusiasm of the group was able to promote an interest in the general population that could eventually (we hope!) be nurtured to produce a sustainable industry. PIRSA recognised this fact and formulated several meetings to bring together a South Australian based network of native food groups, but due to a lack of coordination and varying interests the idea did not yield results. The SVBF was active alongside, but distinct from, the AUSTRALIAN QUANDONG INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION (AQIA), whose membership was mainly SA based. Some were members of both groups.

In 2003, in an effort to reflect the fact that the membership by now resided over a much wider area including areas such as the Southeast of the State, the association was changed to SOUTH AUSTRALIAN NATIVE FOODS ASSOCIATION. Since this time, efforts have been made to entice the many SA based native food growers and related businesses and small locally based interest groups to come together and discuss directions for the industry.

In 2006 the national body AUSTRALIAN NATIVE FOOD INDUSTRY Limited, was formed and SANFA is a member of this organization.

In 2007 a process of merging SANFA with AQIA was begun. The two associations memberships have now been brought together under the name of SANFA.

In 2010, SANFA maintains a healthy membership of some 40 members, with regular bimonthly committee and general meetings.

In 2016, participated in Tasting Australia in partnership with State Flora. It was also the launch of Native Food Plant Labels for edible food species.

In 2017, SANFA operating for 21 years.

In 2020, recess due to COVID 19.

In 2023, new committee formed.

* Clarendon Agricultural Bureau is one of the oldest in South Australia.