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Indigenous Bush Foods: A Growing Industry with Cultural Roots

Three decades ago, Sharon Winsor ventured into the bush foods industry when interest in native ingredients, beyond macadamias, was scarce. Today, this sector, valued at $81.5 million in 2019/20 according to Sydney University research, is poised for rapid growth, potentially doubling by 2025.

Sharon Winsor, a Ngemba Weilwan woman, is the driving force behind Indigiearth, a business based in Mudgee, NSW, specializing in premium authentic native foods, drinks, ingredients, and botanicals. Her work extends beyond her business, collaborating with Aboriginal communities across the country to assist with wild harvesting, direct purchases, and protecting intellectual property interests.

Indigenous businesses and knowledgeable experts are central to this week’s Fine Food Australia trade show at Sydney’s International Convention Centre. Clarence Slockee, a speaker from horticulture company Jiwah and a presenter on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia program, emphasizes the importance of understanding where and how produce is grown for transparency. He also underscores the need to assess whether harvesting impacts plant communities and ecosystems.

While the bushfood industry is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, only 1.5% is Aboriginal-owned. Sharon Winsor envisions a future where more Indigenous products grace store shelves, promoting sustainability by preserving Mother Earth and ensuring equitable opportunities for all.

Indigiearth’s branch, Warakirri Dining, offers a five-course degustation pop-up experience, blending traditional dance performances with desserts like Davidson’s plum sorbet and strawberry gum panna cotta. Each course is an educational journey, sharing the significance of ingredients and their traditional uses.

Fine Food Australia features other exhibitors dedicated to native foods, such as Creative Native, Yumbah, and The Unexpected Guest. Austrade, the government’s international trade promotion agency, showcases unique flavors from First Nations producers, including the Northern Australia Aboriginal Kakadu Plum Alliance and Jala Jala Treats.

Jala Jala, founded by Yamatji-Noongar woman Sharon Brindley, offers chocolate infused with native ingredients like Davidson’s plum, finger lime, and wattleseed, along with a variety of native-infused teas. Sharon Brindley’s passion for cooking and indigenous ingredients, passed down by her grandmother from the Stolen Generations, connects people from all backgrounds through the joy of food.

As the native food industry flourishes, Indigenous entrepreneurs like Sharon Winsor and Sharon Brindley are not only sharing their culture but also fostering a sustainable and inclusive future.

NICC = National Indigenous Cultural Centre – works with Walkabout Australia – we give you indigenous products, indigenous music, aboriginal art – news (we are your indigenous home… (IF you want bush tucker food at your next event / if you want indigenous entertainment at your party / expo / conference; if you want an indigenous gift shop / if you want walkabout australia merchandise = contact us… = https://nicc.org.au (AND = https://www.facebook.com/WalkaboutAustralia

IF you want some indigenous food at your event, expo, conference / party = do you want indigenous / aboriginal entertainment at your function – digeridoo, or indigenous dance, aboriginal gift shop OR = we can tailor a solution for your event (for a few hours or a few days / in a regional town of in the major conference centre. What indigenous food, music, fashion, gift shop – what aboriginal theme do you seek?…

Source: https://nit.com.au/13-09-2023/7654/bush-food-in-favour-as-trade-savours-indigenous-flavour

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