In honour of NAIDOC Week (July 4-12, 2021), here are 12 amazing First Nations-owned food businesses to get behind and start to Heal Country with the ultimate healing powerhouse: food!
The theme of NAIDOC Week this year is ‘Heal Country’, which means different things to different people, but the NAIDOC website says: “For generations we have repeatedly called for just recognition of our right to participate on an equal basis in economic and social terms.
“Yet such participation cannot be successful unless, first, there is formal recognition that Indigenous people have been dispossessed and, second, definite, specific steps are taken to redress the grave social and economic disadvantage that followed that dispossession.
“Healing Country is more than changing a word in our national anthem—it is about the historical, political, and administrative landscapes adapting to successfully empower and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, nations, and heritage.”
Mabu Mabu is a Torres Strait-owned cafe in Yarraville with the mission of making Indigenous food the hero of the Australian Kitchen. Head Chef and owner Nornie Bero, originally from Mer Island in the Torres Strait, wants people to be using, eating and celebrating Indigenous ingredients every day.
Chef, Educator and Artist Kieron Anderson is a proud Quandamooka, Kullilli and Wakka Wakka man. In 2019, he established Yalabin Dining working as “The Quandamooka Chef”.
He has become a well known industry professional with experience working with community organisations, government and corporate sectors, travel companies, media outlets and within the executive arena.
His knowledge and passion around first nations resources and “raw law” is outstanding and he has travelled across this beautiful country sharing, engaging and creating connections with many who have wished to access and learn from this sacred knowledge.
Founder Sharon Brindley is a Yamatji/Noongar woman and the proud owner of Cooee Cafe, the only Indigenous cafe on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. In 2020, Sharon launched her wholesale supply business, Jala Jala Treats.
In her Wajarri language, Jala Jala means ‘very good’. “I’ve created delicious treats to go with the name,” she says.
Jala Jala Treats supplies Corporate and Government entities and boutique retailers and we are continually adding new stockists for our delicious Indigenous-flavoured chocolate bars, slices and coffee.
“This business was only a dream for so long,” says Sharon.
“Now we are building and growing, striving to make it a business that can be passed down through my family for generations to come.”
Owner Kim is involved in officially starting Perth’s NAIDOC Week celebrations at the Perth Supreme Court gardens this week (rescheduled due to lockdown).
From their website: “We met in Inglewood Qld when we were seventeen, then reconnected again thirty years later to find we both had a love of, and strong connection to, the bush and animals within it. Pete is a proud descendant of the Awabakal tribe from the Hunter Valley Region and grew up in Quilpie and Inglewood Qld. Cate was born in South Australia and lived in various places – her teen years were spent on farms in NSW and Qld. We both wanted to get back to the land and farming, so we decided to combine farming with our passion for, and knowledge of native plants. After much research, we were disappointed to find that the same problems that faced the native fruit industry in the 1990’s still hadn’t been solved, with limited stock and few Indigenous growers and Indigenous business owners in the industry. We set ourselves a goal to use the native fruits to create products that everyone can enjoy and also to increase people’s awareness of the health benefits of these amazing fruits. In doing so, we will stimulate demand for native fruits so that the industry continues to grow and more Indigenous families and communities will become involved in the industry and benefit from it.”
My Dilly Bag works sustainably with Aboriginal communities that grow and harvest bush food ingredients, as well as Aboriginal artisan creators.
Owned by Aunty Dale Chapman, My Dilly Bag also runs workshops and cooking classes where you can learn to cook and use native botanicals with Aunty Dale as she takes you on a culinary adventure through the ancient ways of Aboriginal Australia.
Award winning innovators and leading supplier of modern Australian native products, Indigiearth brings 60,000 years of Aboriginal culture to homes and businesses world-wide with modern, contemporary products backed by authenticity and integrity.
Available online and at their cafe and retail outlet in Mudgee, Indigiearth products, from the desert to the sea, are the ultimate way to experience the wonderful world of Australian native ingredients.
Bobbi Lockyer is an Aboriginal artist offering her skills as a photographer, graphic designer and visual artist. With over 15 years experience her work has been sought after and published all over the world.
Additionally, for Mother’s Day she teamed up with Ambre at The Hidden Pantry and created some exclusive native ingredients inspired chocolates.
Venturing between Sydney and Newcastle, Walkabout Coffee is a proud Aboriginal family-owned and operated mobile coffee van which aims to celebrate owners Billy and Lauren Duroux—a Bundjalung and Gumbaynggirr husband and wife team’s—culture—and good coffee! Additionally, they have an online store selling clothing and artefacts.
The Unexpected Guest is a proudly First Nations-owned business creating delicious organic packaged breakfast and snack products.
They say: “Our products are easy to eat as a breakfast, lunch, or a dessert, however you choose to fit food into your busy daily schedule. If you need a quick snack for the train, bus or ferry ride to work or that pick me up at 3pm as you move into the afternoon slump our muesli bars and maple roasted almonds are perfect.
“My ancestors used Australian superfoods for millennia,” Fiona says.
“The vision I have is to create a space for knowledge; for people to have knowledge on those bush foods, Australian native botanicals and the health benefits behind them; the traditional uses.”