• There are some simply amazing things happening in the Indigenous food sector, led by First Nations people. Come eat Australia, Australia! (Warndu)Source: Warndu
There are some simply amazing things happening in the Indigenous food sector, led by First Nations people. Come eat Australia, Australia!
By
Bron Maxabella

5 Jul 2021 - 11:36 AM  UPDATED 6 Jul 2021 - 2:00 PM

National NAIDOC Week (4 – 11 July 2021) celebrates the history, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Join SBS and NITV for a full slate of NAIDOC Week programming and content, and follow NITV on Facebook and Instagram to be part of the conversation. For more information about NAIDOC Week or this year’s theme, head to the official NAIDOC website

 

Australia and the world are becoming increasingly curious about our native food and cooking practices. Fortunately, there's a growing number of Indigenous businesses that are bringing traditional cultural knowledge to this native food revolution. These businesses and communities deserve our support to keep bringing their passion, traditional knowledge and vast culinary history to the Australian food story.

We can't feature everyone, though we'd like to. For more brilliant Aboriginal food businesses, check out Supply Nation, Trading Blak, Bushfood Shop and First Nations Bushfood and Botanicals Alliance Australia.

Bindam Me

Nyul Nyul man Robert Dann turns wild boab nuts from Winnawall Country in the Kimberley into beer and iced tea. “We are creating employment for the younger ones," says Dan. "If we get three tonnes this dry season, they’ll have a job for two months, Monday to Friday for five hours a day."

Shop Bindam Me products here. 

Meet the Indigenous Australian putting boab beer on your must-drink list
He's never touched a drink in his life, yet an Indigenous entrepreneur has crafted a “delicious” beer using nuts from local trees.

Bush to Bowl

If you're keen to start growing your own bushfood garden, get in touch with Yaegl man Clarence Bruinsma and Gadigal man Adam Byrne at Bush To Bowl. They provide native landscaping that works with the surrounding environment to provide food for both humans and native species.

They also sell fresh native produce like lemon myrtle, native basil and saltbush, as well as tube stock of native plants for you to add to your own garden - apple berry, native raspberry, aniseed myrtle, kangaroo apple, warrigal greens, and plenty more. They also offer bushfood tours, workshops and school programs.

Bush to Bowl

0431 819 089
info@bushtobowl.com

Shop the stock here

Bushlolly

Bushlolly Aboriginal Australian Native Foods specialises in supplying fresh and frozen native foods nationally via local distributors and locally via their onsite café. It's run out of Reedy Creek Nursery in Karratha WA, owned and run by Triscilla Holborow, a traditional owner from the Pilbara Western Australia. 

Bushlolly aims to create an identifiable Australian cuisine that supports generations of Indigenous people and brings pride to their traditions and Australia as a whole. Their online shop is currently being developed.

Bushlolly Café
5-15 Sharpe Ave, Karratha WA

(08) 9185 1953
info@bushlolly.com

Chocolate on Purpose

Proud Wiradjuri Yinaa of the Galari (Lachlan) River, Fiona Harrison makes fine chocolates flavoured with Australian native botanicals like wild rosella, Illawarra plum and lillipillies.

The chocolate is all made by hand in the tiny town of Millthorpe in central NSW by Fiona and her business partner Jo.

"Chocolate On Purpose is more than just confectionery," she told SBS Food. "This chocolate enables us to have the conversations about the wisdom of First Nations people and their use of Australian botanicals, so they're recognised for their wisdom and appreciated for their culture. We see that as a small cog in the wheel of reconciliation."

Chocolate on Purpose

0413 508 638

Buy directly here

DHUWA Coffee

DHUWA means to 'feel alive' in Bidjara language, which seems a particularly fitting name for a coffee brand.

“As a modern Indigenous-owned, managed, and controlled business, we believe a great cup of coffee connects us as we share stories, build bonds, and nourish relationships," says proud Mununjali Palawa man and DHUWA Co-founder Shawn Andrews. "We call it ‘reconciliation in a cup’.”

The bigger picture behind DHUWA is to create a successful coffee enterprise that is soon able to train and employ Indigenous people and in so doing, contribute to their communities. DHUWA roasts in partnership with Griffiths Bros Coffee Roasters.

Five per cent of every DHUWA Coffee product sold in Woolworths is donated to charity partner Dreaming Futures which supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out of home care to experience Country, culture and connection.

DHUWA Coffee

Click here for your closest stockist.

Gulbarn Tea

Harvesing gulbarn on Alawa Country is a family affair.

Gulbarn Tea is the company co-founded by Alawa people that is hand-picking the wild-harvested ancient bush medicine tea on Alawa Country in the Northern Territory's remote Big Rivers region. The name Gulbarn is the Alawa term for melaleuca citrolens, a plant in the myrtle family that grows wild across the NT’s vast savannah ecosystem. It has been used by the Alawa people for thousands of years to heal coughs, colds and stomach aches. Buy directly here or find stockists here.

Gulbarn Tea
Casuarina, NT

hello@gulbarn.com.au

Your new favourite tea is millions of years old
Gulbarn Tea is an Indigenous-owned, wild-harvested native tea company brewed from ancient wisdom and perpetually young hearts.

Indigiearth

From their café and retail outlet in Mudgee, the team behind the award-winning Indigiearth source native Australian foods from Aboriginal communities who use traditional land management practices that respect the land. Founder Sharon Winsor, a Ngemba Weilwan woman, is passionate about connecting people with Aboriginal culture and heritage through native foods.

Feels like home: Sharon Winsor's wattleseed bread and butter pudding
Sharon Winsor's version of a winter classic combines sweet childhood memories with Australia's ancient wattleseed.
Sharon Winsor on the life-changing power of Indigenous ingredients
Indigiearth's founder has known bush foods since childhood. Here, she reveals how to use them (and how they've turned her life around).

The brand offers over 200 products, including native foods, candles, diffusers and an all-natural skincare range.  Their raw native fruits, produce and materials are purchased from Aboriginal communities across the Country ensuring that employment, income and education remain within the community.

“Indigiearth is more than just business. It’s my healing, my passion and runs deep within my soul,” says Sharon.

Indigiearth

83 Lions Drive Mudgee, NSW
1300 551 525
enquires@indigieart.com.au

Indigigrow

Buy bushfood plants and produce directly from Indigigrow and support their positive cultural and environmental education projects. They are also on a mission to save and protect native plants like the critically endangered Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub.

The company has an education facility, nursery and bushfood farm within the grounds of La Perouse Public School.

Indigigrow

First Pedestrian Gate
Corner of Bunnerong Road & Yarra Road, La Perouse Public School, La Perouse NSW
0439 327933
orders.indigigrow@gmail.com

How to nurture your own bush food garden
Yerrabingin cofounder Christian Hampson shares what produce he grows in his Sydney courtyard and how you can do the same.

Kaiyu Superfoods

Kaiyu Superfoods use Australian native fruits and foods to create enjoyable products that showcase the health benefits of Australian native fruits through their products. That means things like native superfood blended powders, native teas and infusions, and snacks like sun-dried bush tomatoes and sandalwood nuts are all sold via their website. They source organically and locally where possible and work with and mentor communities to wild harvest fruits sustainably.

Kaiyu Superfoods
Humpty Doo, NT

0429 424 024

kaiyu.superfoods@gmail.com

Kakadu Kitchen

This 100% Indigenous-owned bushfood-tech company is run by Ben Tyler, a Bininj entrepreneur and children's author from Murdudjurl in the heart of Kakadu National Park, NT. He retail Indigenous prepackaged bushfood brands at markets and stalls across the region. His mission is to grow Indigenous participation in the Australian native food industry from less than one percent to at least 30 percent.

Lately at The Village Central Markets at Jape Homemaker Village in Millner - Darwin, NT from 9-3pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Follow Kakadu Kitchen on Facebook for updates.

Kungkas Can Cook

Ethically sourced, wild-harvested organic bush food, straight out of the Central Desert and gathered by women on Country. Founder Rayleen Brown's passion for cooking with Indigenous foods was born at her mother and father's side as a young girl. Her father, fortunately, wrote down all of his recipes to be passed down to his kin.

Rayleen started out catering for meetings and festivals 18 years ago, and her business has grown to include bush food products, a café, traineeships and her family.

"I hope I leave a legacy for the younger generation, my own family and my extended family," Rayleen says on her website. "To be proud of who we are and our culture, to have respect for it, passed down from generation to generation, living through our grandmother's story."

Kungas Can Cook

Irrarnte Cafe
Desert Knowledge Precinct, 457 Stuart Highway, Alice Springs

Buy bushfoods directly here.

The art of cooking with bush foods
Rayleen Brown and Mark Olive believe that bush foods can enrich our diets – they also carry complex stories of culture and place.

Mabu Mabu

The extraordinary Komet woman Nornie Bero is the head chef and business owner of Mabu Mabu. Originally from Mer Island in the Torres Strait, she has been a professional chef for over 20 years. Nornie is on a mission to put Indigenous ingredients in kitchens across Australia.

Under the label Kara Meta, Mabu Mabu make and stock a great range of handmade teas, spices and sauces with Indigenous and tropical flavours. They are all sourced from suppliers who are passionate about Australia's Indigenous food industry and everything is gluten free and vegan.

There's also an all-day bar and kitchen based on the land of the Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung peoples at Federation Square in Melbourne/Naarm. The venue is called Big Esso, or "the biggest thank you" in Torres Strait Islander slang.

Mabu Mabu

Shop for Kara Meta products here.

Forget sourdough, native damper is the bread you should be making
Mabu Mabu’s Nornie Bero will show you how to master damper and you'll never look back.

Maningrida Wildfoods

Established in 2018, the team at Maningrida have sold wild native foods sustainably harvested from both land and sea on their Arnhem Land homelands in the Northern Territory. The business is fully owned and operated by Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation with the mission of creating job opportunities that allow people to continue to live on Country.

Locals can purchase fresh produce like fish and native greens. Their unique spice mixes are available Australia-wide through stockists or directly from their online store here.

Maningrida Wildfoods

Find out more on their website.

Mayi Harvests

This native food Indigenous co-op has been going strong for 15 years under the management of Aunty Pat Mamanyjun Torres.

 

“For us, bush food is more than just a commodity. It’s something that reaches back into ancestral history,” Aunty Pat told NIT. “With it comes sacred rituals and songs and stories. It’s very much embedded in who we are as humans.” 

They follow the traditional methods of wild harvesting in small batches throughout the six seasons found in West Kimberley, on their traditional family lands in Ngumbarl and Jabirr-Jabirr Country. Kakadu Plum (Gabiny) is one of the foods they are using traditional land management skills to help preserve for future generations.

A big part of Mayi Harvests philosophy is giving back to their community. They do this through volunteering, mentoring, sharing culture and educating others on their proud Indigenous history. Mayi Harvests also run native bushfoods workshops on Country.

Mayi Harvests

20B Clementson St, Broome WA
0403 486 955

Buy products directly here.

My Dilly Bag

What Aunty Dale Chapman doesn't know about the Indigenous food of the Gubbi Gubbi, simply doesn't exist. Her deep cultural pride urged her to start My Dilly Bag 20 years ago. She hosts workshops, tours, cooking classes and other events, all to share her fathomless knowledge of and passion for Aboriginal culture.

“We are bringing out a whole new range of bush foods, with more herbs and fruit coming on the market," Aunty Dale told SBS. "And that's due to the influx of Indigenous people growing bush foods.”

To meet the needs of a nation during a pandemic, Aunty Dale will also soon be hosting online cooking classes.

My Dilly Bag

5B/354 Mons Rd, Forest Glen QLD
0402 616 056
dale@mydillybag.com.au
 

Buy Indigenous pantry items here.
Check the website for details of online cooking classes, workshops and events. 

National Indigenous Culinary Institute

The National Indigenous Culinary Institute (NICI) is an industry-inspired and initiated program to create highly skilled Indigenous chefs. It aims to train, mentor and support First Nations people to become world-class chefs. The program has graduates and new apprentices in top restaurants, including at Rockpool Bar and Grill and Bistro Guillaume in Sydney and Neapoli Wine Bar in Melbourne.

In addition, the team create cultural cooking experiences for corporate partners, where they deliver meal boxes with native ingredients and their Aboriginal chefs teach participants how to use and cook them.

"It's a way to engage corporates in a larger scale opportunity rather than just a morning tea, where the thought is nice but quickly forgotten," says NICU CEO and Yuin man, Nathan Lovett. "This is an experience that won't be soon forgotten."

NICU

nathan@nici.org.auEmail Nathan directly to find out more.

Nyanda Cultural Tours

Nyanda Aboriginal Cultural Tours and Bush Foods Experience offer immersive, highly interactive experiences that connect people to Australia's Aboriginal history and experience. Seasonal bushfoods are offered at every tour and foraging and hunting techniques are shared.

Nyanda is home to a bora, or traditional ceremonial site, one of only two that remain in Brisbane. Supporting Nyanda is a way to support the preservation of this culturally significant, sacred Jagera site.

Nyanda Cultural Tours

52 Childs Rd, Nudgee QLD
(07) 3868 1244

Nyanggan Gapi

On the Niigi Niigi headland (known as Sealy Lookout) at Coffs Harbour, there's a little café run out of a van that serves the best picnic grazing boxes around. Launched during NAIDOC in 2017, the café is part of the Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation, which puts 100% of its profit back into the community.

Nyanggan Gapi means 'perfect coffee' in the Gumbaynggirr language and this not-for-profit Aboriginal-owned and run café serves exactly that, and then some. The menu uses local bush flavours like lemon myrtle, ground wattleseed, Davidson plums and native finger limes, sourced where they can from Aboriginal-owned businesses like Bushlolly (see above).

"I think it is very important for our staff to be educated on how traditional foods were used," café manager Kamla Webb told SBS Food. "When they pass on the knowledge to our customers, they can feel the passion for the culture and also provide an opportunity to educate customers on how alive the culture is, especially in Gumbaynggirr Country."

Nyanggan Gapi Café

1 Bray Street, Coffs Harbour NSW and at Sealy Lookout, Coffs Harbour NSW on Saturdays and Sundays
0409 536 670
cafe@bmnac.org.au

Weather and season dependent. Phone or email for opening times, or check their Instagram

Sobah

Australia's first non-alcoholic craft beer is run by husband-wife team Gamilaroi man and psychologist Clinton and Loren Schultz on beautiful Yugambeh Country. Through their range of seven brews, the pair want to break down the stigma of socialising sober and raise awareness of Aboriginal arts, language and history.

"While we’re hard workers, we truly believe we have been privileged in our opportunities thus far and therefore have a responsibility to give back," the pair say on their website. "To share our knowledge and experience, to create opportunities for others, to encourage sustainable and healthy ways of living, and to assist in bringing about positive changes."

Sobah

sobahbeverages@gmail.com

Find your local stockists here, or buy directly here.

Something Wild

At the heart of Something Wild's Indigenous food business is a strong desire to respect, support and promote Indigenous harvesters and provide economic opportunities for Aboriginal people. The result is an unparalleled ability to bring unique, ethically sourced Australian native produce, spirits and game to the table.

Specialities include green ants and magpie goose, kangaroo, open range boar, goat, crocodile, emu, camel and wild and farmed venison. Green ant gin or native yam vodka are definitely something to try.

The team supply Indigenous produce to some of Australia's top restaurants, as well as direct to the Australian public from their website.

Something Wild

Stall 55, Adelaide Central Market 44-60 Gouger Street, Adelaide SA
0452 466 252
contact@somethingwild.com.au

What’s the deal with wild foods?
Wild foods are increasingly spotted on menus and for sale. But what does “wild” really mean?

Warndu

Warndu means good in the Adnyamathanha language, native to the Flinders Ranges Country in South Australia.  All of their products contain one or more native ingredients and all are made in Australia from 100% locally sourced, seasonal and wild-harvested produce.

This includes products like native thyme oil, wattleseed balsamic, whole dried bush tomato, bush tomato and macadamia dukkah, native mint and tyrant ant tea, and a chai latte made with wild Manuka honey, rose and bush spices.

Their website is also packed with recipes using and information on Aboriginal bush tucker ingredients. And don't miss the Australian Native Food Guide app the team have developed. They also have a celebrated cookbook out called Warndu Mai (Good Food).

Warndu

nunga@warndu.com

Find local stockists here or buy directly here.

Cook from Warndu Mai

Bushfood brittle

The perfect sweet and sour candy. Sweet from the brittle and sour from the tangy limes. A great gift for every occasion, too.

Damien's damper

An all-round show-stopper, this one. Impress your mates with your bread-making skills, with little skill at all! Try playing around with any bush spice until you find your favourite. This is best cooked in a fire but an oven will do just as well.

Urti pie

This recipe is so special to us as it comes from Damien’s Nana Barb, who has since passed away. Most of Damien’s family members make this pie, which is renowned in the Flinders Ranges, home of the urti (quandong). 

Cook something good
Smoked mackerel green papaya salad with Davidson plum dressing

Davidson plums are a distinctive, deep purplish-red fruit from Northern NSW. In this recipe, they lend a uniquely Australian sour tang to a quintessentially Thai dish. If boning and butterflying the mackerel is a little daunting, then Tasmanian ocean trout fillet is an excellent substitute.

Grilled beef skewers with pepperberry sauce

Up your BBQ game with this pepperberry sauce, which brings a slightly sweet flavour before packing a peppery punch. 

Immune-boosting turmeric and lemon myrtle tea

Give your refreshing ice tea an immune support boost with these Aussie native citrus flavours.

Mixed mushroom ragout with native spice polenta chips

Crispy, native-spiced polenta chips and a juicy mix of mushrooms is a pairing you won't just save for meat-free Mondays.

Sticky glazed pork ribs with saltbush

Saltbush leaves have a salty and herbaceous flavour which pairs well with roasted meat.

Lemon myrtle and river mint chocolate coffee beans

Mark Olive uses lemon myrtle and river mint in place of the traditional lemon rind or sweet mint to flavour these chocolate-coated coffee beans. They'll keep for a long time stored in an air-tight container, perfect for Christmas gifting.

Oven-dried tomato, warrigal greens and goat’s cheese muffins

Homemade oven-dried tomatoes will trump anything you get from a jar. They take a little time but you can sit back and relax while the tomatoes do their thing.

Fresh pasta with warrigal pesto

This recipe was made on the set of On Country Kitchen using fresh ribbon pasta, but you can use any type you like, fresh or dry. 

Mud crab with pepperberry mayonnaise

Pepperberry mayonnaise is the perfect match for delicate crab meat. 

Braised kangaroo tail, spiced quandong mash and saltbush salad

Kangaroo tail is so delicious and when it is cooked slowly, it is lip-smackingly good. Peter Kuruvita's Coastal Kitchen