Empowering Inclusive Development: Centrefarm’s Co-Mapping Initiative Leads the Way

In the heart of the Northern Territory, Centrefarm’s pioneering Co-Mapping on Country initiative is reshaping the landscape of development. Centrefarm have recently established the Aboriginal Land Economic Development Agency (ALEDA) to implement and coordinate multi-industry Aboriginal-owned developments throughout the Northern Territory. Supported by the Northern Hub with funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund, Centrefarm’s Project Development Manager Brody Smith said the co-mapping project sets an important precedent towards aligning economic growth and cultural preservation.

“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.

ALEDA aims to facilitate economic independence by supporting and assisting Traditional Owners to develop commercial opportunities. Its pilot phase will include six commercial horticultural operations and regional training facilities to trial the strategy’s commercial and social aspects, while addressing local decision-making, economic participation, education, training, and food security.

Over the past 3 years Centrefarm has successfully created significant local employment opportunities, provided a local education option past year ten, and grown marketable produce and trial crops. Key to the project’s success, and foundational to the activities, has been Centrefarm’s Co-mapping on Country model that facilitates the creation of large canvas maps as the basis for engagement and governance.

“This Co-Mapping project sets an important precedent for inclusive and responsible land development while laying the foundation for sustainable economic and regional growth. It offers a functional model of two-way governance that enables the integration of environmental and cultural maintenance, while supporting community well-being and economic prosperity,” says Nadia Rimmer, Director for the Northern Hub.

Centrefarm’s Co-Mapping initiative isn’t solely a blueprint for development; it stands as a tangible testament to the power of collaborative efforts, guided by respect and vision. This project is poised to serve as a model for sustainable development extending beyond the confines of the Northern Territory.

“Having taken part in the directors meeting at the Northern Hub, where Centrefarm showcased the co-mapping project, I am genuinely impressed by the innovative approach they have taken. The co-created map of the Iliyarne Land Trust distinctly reflects the immense value of collaboration and two-way governance. It sets forth an admirable framework for drought communication, planning, and resilience,” said Sandra Knowles, Director of the Tasmania Farm Innovation Hub.

You can learn more about the co-mapping project by visiting the Centrefarm website.