The Maningrida Wild Foods brand was created in late 2018, to sell our foods outside of Maningrida to restaurants and wholesalers. The local Maningrida market remains essential for us, providing healthy food to our local families.

We are fully driven by local Aboriginal people’s desires to create economic opportunities from their land and sea countries. Every decision is made through deep consultation, balancing thousands of years of knowledge together with contemporary business systems.

The fishing crew was established in late 2016 by Don Wilton, Stuart Yirawara Ankin and Jimmy Olsen using their Aboriginal Coastal Licences. Supported by the Australian Government’s Community Development Programme, they have been selling fish caught on their sea country every week in Maningrida since. Most of the fish is sold in Maningrida and neighbouring communities, providing healthy food options for residents. Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation is leasing a barramundi licence for the first time in 2020.

Jack and Janet Marawarr harvesting Minja berries. Photo by Ingrid Johanson

Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation re-established mud crabbing activities in late 2018 under the expert guidance of senior Burarra man Michael Anjaramarr. There is strong local support from sea country owners to make use of their resources to create long-term employment in the community. Mud crabs are sold in Maningrida every week and all over the country, through wholesalers or directly to restaurants.

Our bush foods harvests started in 2017 under the leadership of senior Gurr-goni woman Leila Nimbadja and have been slowly growing since then. We started harvesting Man-morlak (Kakadu plums) as there was an already established strong demand for them, however, we quickly moved into selling bush foods that had never been sold before. We supply wholesalers and restaurants alike, and also sell some of the local favourite bush foods in Maningrida.

The Mardanggich spice mix is the first product that Maningrida Wild Foods has developed, which came from a partnership with Melbourne-based Outback Chef. We also sell seedless air-dried Kakadu Plum powder made in Maningrida and will launch new products in the future.

We are small, grassroots enterprise and we are slowly making progress. We are always trialling different products and methods, with the view of establishing a business that will provide long-term benefits for the people of the Maningrida region.

Jack and Janet Marawarr, harvesting Minya berries. Photo by Ingrid Johanson.