Environs Kimberley is working with Kimberley communities to develop a culturally meaningful conservation economy through the Wattleseed Collective.
The Wattleseed Collective last year trialled its first commercial-scale wattleseed collection with Traditional Owner and ranger groups in the West Kimberley, laying the foundations for an annual harvest and sale of this nourishing bush food.
After developing a pilot product of wild-harvested wattleseed to secure buyers, the Collective now has significant demand from First Nations-owned stockists, so the harvest will need scaling up.
The Collective is being established as a social enterprise, so that eventual profits go back to the collectors, and to pay for the equipment, facilities and systems required.
The Sustainable Communities team has been working alongside EK’s Kimberley Nature Projects, which uses a two-way science approach to conserve threatened species and ecosystems and protect cultural heritage. Community collectors use traditional and environmentally sustainable methods and receive industry-specific training to build the capacity to produce a viable product.
“Like the highly successful Indigenous Rangers Program, the Collective promotes healthy people on healthy Country,” said Tahnee Carter, Sustainable Communities Project Officer.
“Karajarri people, like many other First Nations groups across Australia, know Lirrinngkirn (wattleseed) to be a valuable traditional food for people, used to make flour.”
“This ancient, protein-rich superfood is high in dietary fibre, antioxidants, iron, potassium, and healthy fats, lowering the sugar levels of the food with which it is combined,” said Ms Carter.
“The Wattleseed Collective will make this healthy bush food accessible in First Nations communities and throughout Australia.”
"As we approach the wattleseed harvest time, a two-week intensive period usually beginning in September, the Collective is seeking supporting funds to facilitate the wattleseed harvest throughout remote communities across their traditional lands, spanning a linear distance of more than 530km."
"The funds will go toward wages for facilitators working with each language group, and the costs for vehicles, food, fuel, and Elders’ time."
"There is significant momentum within groups to join the Collective and participate in an economically and geographically accessible enterprise. The wattle grows locally, and the seedpods are removed on Country, giving the seeds a high value to weight ratio."
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Environs Kimberley is a not-for-profit organisation working with communities for 26 years to protect the nature of the Kimberley in the remote north of Western Australia.
Wattleseed harvest: Two-week intensive community collection usually beginning late September
Poster for communities: Makem Money Collecting Wattleseed
Banner Photo: Tahnee Carter
Wattleseed (Acacia colei). Photo: Camera Story
Makem Money Collecting Watttleseed Poster [Plain English]. Design: Tahnee Carter. Photos: Camera Story