The First Nations Bushfood & Botanical Alliance Australia was established as a result of the national conversation that took place amongst 120 First Nations attendees at the inaugural Indigenous Native Foods Symposium in Sydney 27-28 November 2019.
Conversation at the Symposium identified that in 2019, Indigenous Australians represent fewer than 2% of the providers across the supply chain and acknowledged that nearly 98% of Aboriginal land owners aspire to be leaders in the native food industry. In 2023, this is not acceptable, given that much of the Industry relies on the supply of unprotected Indigenous knowledge and returns little to our people.
A National Indigenous Bushfood Statement was issued at the end of the Symposium which had a number of actions including forming this national First Nations lead industry body.
Subsequently a working group of 24 First Nations people from across Australia worked solidly to form the national body and are committed to their ongoing participation to ensure the development of a thriving Indigenous bush foods and botanicals business sector.
First Nations Bushfood & Botanical Alliance Australia was launched in May 2020 as a result of this process.
The Alliance will be working to deliver the key action items coming out of the Symposium which are:
The First Nations Bushfood & Botanical Alliance Australia
27-28 November 2019
We have gathered from across Australia to participate in the first National Indigenous Bushfood Symposium. We acknowledge and pay our respects to the trailblazing work of the women and men who came before us. Men and women who claimed our special and unique place as the First Peoples and Knowledge holders in this country and led the way.
Our Indigenous knowledge systems have sustained us for more that 100,000 years. We assert our cultural birthright, the exclusive right, to speak for our Knowledge and country.
The Bushfoods industry is built on the Indigenous ancestral Knowledge and intergenerational nurturing and interdependent relationship with country, including all the plants, animals, landforms and waterways. Indigenous peoples’ contributions must be respected, valued and given their rightful place in the industry.
Our ancestors have held this knowledge for thousands of years and have passed it down to us. It is our responsibility and obligation to continue our role as custodians.
We continue to assert our sovereignty over country in its broadest sense, and our Knowledge systems. We respect the sovereignty of our brothers and sisters and their Indigenous clans and nations in relation to their country and Knowledge systems.
As First Peoples of this continent, Indigenous peoples exercise our right of self-determination. As we continue to practice our ancient methods of food production and old economies, we are also reversing our exclusion from the mainstream economy. We assert the right of participation and inclusion in both the old and new economies, as part of a just way forward and one of the ways we give to effect to our right of self-determination. We must play a leadership role in the bushfoods industry. Our cultural practices must be honored so we can grow and thrive.
As custodians of our country, we must take a leadership role. We must be included in any development of our native plants and animals in the bushfood, botanical, agricultural and medicinal and therapeutic industries. We believe that our effective participation in the industry, its growth and development has the power to bring social, cultural, economic and environmental benefits for all. Our leadership, bringing our Knowledge systems and values, will make a strong contribution to food security and a sustainable future for country and people – as it has for generations before us.
We are concerned that our Indigenous knowledge, plants and animals have ended up in supermarkets, databases and research projects without our consent or participation. Culture and country have been exploited by the food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and agricultural industry, research institutions and universities. We reclaim our cultural heritage, rights to water and country and our right to ethical, principled engagement with us.
We have the right to pass on this knowledge to our children, in accordance with our Indigenous Knowledge systems, including the requirements for privacy and secrecy required by those ancient systems.
This is a key pathway to economic independence and equality. We assert our rights to continue to develop our pre-existing Indigenous economies, carry them forward in accordance with our Knowledge systems, caring for country and creating intergenerational wealth, locally and in international markets.
These are the key action items coming out of our meeting:
We commit to moving this forward and call for the formation of an Indigenous working group to lead
these action items and to represent us in the spirit of true and meaningful collaboration.
Spending the last 20 years running my bushfoods business in Alice Springs, I have had the fortune to work at many levels in the industry. I have contributed to a number of research projects with CRC's and worked with Traditional Owners and 5 different language groups to develop ethical guidelines for the bush foods industry.
I have experience with media and have had many speaking engagements to advocate for indigenous people in the Bushfoods Business. I have also held the position Director for two years on the ANFAB board.
What I am most proud of is the time I have spent advocating for the women who wild harvest in the Central Desert Area and making the industry aware of their wonderful contribution to the industry.
CEO of my bush-tucker and bush remedy business called Mamanyjun Tree Enterprises which trades as Mayi Harvests & Ancient Wisdom and a cultural consultancy business called Mamanyjun Cultural Training.
I am a Director, of the first bushfood organisation in the West Kimberley region known as the Gabiny Plum Harvesters Co-operative Ltd in Broome, WA which was previously known as the Indigenous Harvesters Australia Co-op Ltd.
My cultural and heritage knowledge was recognised this year with the awarding of a local Broome ‘2019 Kullarri NAIDOC Award for a Lifetime contribution to Culture and Heritage’
Sharon is a proud Yamatji/Noongar woman, Mother of three adult children and Grandmother of four beautiful Grandchildren. She is the Founder of Cooee Café & Catering , Jala Jala Treats, Co founder of Timberscope Feral Management, mentor, public speaker and an award winning entrepreneur.
Sharon sits on the board for a Peninsula Indigenous Business Group, a mentor for Culture College with the Yolgnu community and an active member of Kinaway Indigenous Chamber of Commerce. Sharon is very passionate about increasing the presence of First Nation Peoples within the Native Food Business Sector.
Helping to create clearer awareness around First Nations business ownership, which with then help other First Nation Peoples and Allies have a clearer understanding of who they are supporting.
To act as a body representative of First Nations groups and in particular to provide a channel for:
- Acknowledging and respecting our Ancestry and ethically maintaining the knowledge that has been passed down to our members as First Nations people that has made the bush foods Industry what it is today.
- To work ethically with our Elders/knowledge holders to protect our sacred knowledge, stories, dances and cultural connections to bush foods, science plants and medicines
- Using traditional cultural and international protocols (the Nagoya Protocol) to engage with stakeholders on traditional plant use and cultural knowledge