Centrefarm’s Co-Mapping with Traditional Custodians is a Foundation for Two-Way Knowledge Exchange

Photo provided by Centrefarm

Centrefarm Aboriginal Horticulture Limited (Centrefarm), an Aboriginal not-for-profit organisation based in Alice Springs, is co-mapping in the Alekarenge and Mataranka regions with Traditional Custodians on their respective Land Trusts. The innovative activity brings together cultural knowledge, stories, sites, biota, and language onto a large canvas map that has been prepared using geospatial data.

“The maps can be used as a platform to facilitate communication, discussion, and decision-making, while supporting intergenerational knowledge transfer, and educating non-Aboriginal stakeholders”, says Brody Smith, Project Development Manager for Centrefarm. “Co-created maps are an effective engagement tool, they act as a boundary object between different knowledge groups, and have the potential to lead discussions about climate, weather patterns and sustainable water use in cross-cultural settings.”

Smith emphasises the importance of First Nations’ knowledge to strengthen environmental resilience, “Co-mapping highlights ecological and culture relationships, the methodology can be used in whole-of-estate planning and by others collaborating in this space.”

“Centrefarm’s 2023 map updates are an exciting milestone,” announces Jed Matz, CEO of Northern Hub. “Through collaborative efforts with Traditional Owners, the maps will be meticulously negotiated on canvas, capturing the rich cultural knowledge and insights. There’s potential to digitise and transform them into dynamic 3D tiles, integrating additional scientific information to further enhance their usefulness and accessibility.”

Centrefarm’s co-mapping project embraces cultural knowledge, fostering two-way governance and sustainable land management. It contributes to cultural preservation, informed decision-making, and resilient communities across Australia.

This project is supported by the Northern Hub, through funding from the Australian Government’s Agricultural Innovation Hubs Program.