Fresh food store for Indigenous community

An Indigenous community in the Northern Territory has established its own store, offering fresh food, affordable groceries, clothes and other supplies, with The Foundation’s support.

Few Australians could imagine life without quick and easy access to food. No fruit and vegetables, no milk, and no regular tucker at the corner store or supermarket.

Food shortages lead directly to malnutrition, particularly in children who need a variety of vitamins and minerals to develop and get a fair start in life.

This was the plight of the Ngalakan community at Urapunga (200 kilometres down a rough track east of Katherine), who had no access to food until The Foundation was invited in to lend a hand.

Urapunga, a small town of 100 people, lies between the Roper and Wilton rivers, which are bursting at the seams with salt-water crocodiles during the Top End’s famous wet season.

The danger posed makes it almost impossible to access the food stores across the water to the east and west of Urapunga.

Just recently, a four-metre dinghy carrying the town’s food supply capsized on the return journey across Roper River to Urapunga.  This ‘delivery service’ was just too dangerous and too unreliable, so the community decided to set up and manage its own store.

The Foundation’s governance project coordinator, Tania McLeod, says supporting communities like Urapunga to create their own solutions to problems is an example of the power of self determination.

“Communities have the determination to fix problems surrounding things like food security and nutrition,” McLeod says.

“The Foundation provides support and training in the skills needed to make these solutions a reality.

“The community can then do the hard work to make it all happen. The end result is an improvement to the lives of everyone.”

With few resources on hand to establish a store, Urapunga community members asked The Foundation to train them in governance, financial literacy and store operations.

This support enabled them to establish a partnership with a group which was willing to finance the store.

Legal assistance was also provided by The Foundation to set up fair and equitable contracts. The Yupanalla Aboriginal Corporation was established so that the community could manage operations.

“Nutrition is obviously an essential ingredient for a healthy life. The Foundation is delighted to help bring nutrition to an already disadvantaged group of Australians,” says McLeod.

>Find out more about how The Foundation is making a difference to Indigenous health.
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