Noongar Land Enterprise Group | Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations 2021
The Noongar Land Enterprise (NLE) Group is a not-for-profit, Aboriginal-led grower group. Based in Western Australia’s South West region (traditionally known as Noongar Boodja), it is the first group of its kind in Australia.
The purpose was to benefit from a collective approach on the pathway from passive to active land management involving business enterprise development on Noongar Land. Launched in 2014, NLE became incorporated in 2017 and currently represents seven landholding groups located on country with mixed rainfall (due to the groups’ geographic spread) and a relatively high production potential. Membership is expected to grow over time with the addition of 20 plus properties.
The appointment of a full-time CEO mid-2020 has accelerated activities, with new projects aligned to an ethos of developing commercially focused but culturally appropriate bush foods, allowing members to be on country and managing an enterprise while accessing training opportunities to further growth.
FIAL became involved with NLE through the National Innovation Hub (NIH) project, a farm nearly Beverley, WA, owned by the National Trust of Western Australia and of significant value in both colonial and a First Nations context. As potential partners, NLE and FIAL teamed up to produce a business case for bush food farming developed and proven on the NIH property and replicated around Australia. The intention is to drive up the participation rate of First Nations people and ensure the preservation of cultural knowledge and intellectual property.
NLE also oversees development of unique brands including an Aboriginal honey product, Ngooka, which has been supported by FIAL. The project includes collaboration with CRC For Honey Bee Products and the University of Western Australia to produce floral mapping of different native species and development of a honey database.
As Australia’s first Aboriginal-led grower group, NLE recognises the importance of partnerships with associations like FIAL. Collaboration is critical to moving forward, as it provides complementary skills, knowledge and resources that bolster the First Nations IP and cultural knowledge that is central to the NLE group.