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First Nations entrepreneur wants native ingredients to play bigger role in food supply industry

[by Nicole Barlow]

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Bundjalung woman of Widjabul Wiabul clan Ms Mindy Woods.​ Image: supplied

Ms Mindy Woods (pictured) is the owner of Karkalla Byron Bay and a participant in Charles Sturt University and Food Future Company’s inaugural Indigenous Entrepreneur Program, run earlier this year with Food Futures.

Karkalla At Home is a native food product lined based on some of the signature dishes made at her business, Karkalla Byron Bay Restaurant.

Ms Woods was inspired to increase accessibility of native foods to the homes of everyday Australians.

“I understand the desire for consumers to access native food and embrace native ingredients in their home kitchens, yet also understand the lack of accessibility of native ingredients,” she said.

Participating in the Indigenous Entrepreneur Program allowed Ms Woods to develop ways to show people how to access the world’s most ancient ingredients and teach them approachable ways to integrate these ingredients into home-cooked recipes and meals.

 

“As a First Nations woman our community, our people and Country are the centre of our world, including our work,” she said.

“The Indigenous Entrepreneur Program gave me the opportunity to connect with mob all over the Country and to connect with a network of successful, experienced experts to help breathe life into our business dream.”

And Ms Woods has some ideas on how to integrate those ideas to incorporate First Nations foods and ingredients to benefit the food industry as we mark World Food Day on Monday 16 October.

She said it is time all Australians start embracing and celebrating these ingredients and the First Nations knowledge and practices that know how to use them.

“Australia is home to the oldest civilisation on Earth and the world’s oldest food culture,” she said.

“We are custodians of 6,500 ingredients unique to this place we now call Australia. Our foods are linked to our Country, our culture, our stories, art and song lines. They were not something we took from Country. They were a way we formed a relationship with it.

“First Nation food principles are based on community, seasonality, inclusion and environmental sustainability. These are all principles relevant today and vital for our future.”

Ms Woods wants all Australians to fall in love with First Nations food in the hope they experience it and care for it to protect it for future generations.

“I’d love mob to be invited to the table and to see greater representation across the entire supply chain,” she said.

“Less than two per cent of mob are currently involved in a multi-million-dollar native food industry and that is a travesty.

“Our knowledge and understanding of this wide continent can add important cultural, environmental and financial value to the industry.”

Charles Sturt and Food Futures are about to host the Indigenous Scale Up Program, an advanced stage 12-week program launching on Monday 30 October offering support to First Nations entrepreneurs with existing agrifood businesses to facilitate expansion and promote innovative ventures.

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