Keri Tamwoy holding Mayi Market vegie box

Aurukun hungry for fresh affordable food

More than $5 for a kilo of white rice. $7.75 for a kilo of apples.

This is the reality of food shopping for the residents of many remote Cape York communities. A reality that is changing for the 1,200+ residents of Aurukun with the arrival of Mayi Market.

After one year of honing its operations delivering fresh, affordable food to Coen, Hope Vale, Wujal Wujal and Mossman Gorge, Mayi Market launched in Aurukun on Thursday 7 October. The delivery truck rolled into the local O-Hub to set up a pop-up shop and barbecue lunch featuring food from the very boxes it delivers to residents.

The Aurukun community can now order fortnightly deliveries of quality fruit, vegetables, meat and essential pantry boxes. The food is sourced from Far North farmers, boxed up, transported north and delivered at a price comparable to what you would find in a major Cairns supermarket.

With local residents paying up three times the price for their grocery items as Cairns residents, the Mayi Market truck arriving in Aurukun was a welcome sight for Cape York Partnership, Cape Operations Manager, Audrey Deemal.

“For far too long, our Cape communities have had to make do with the leftovers. When there is fresh food available, it’s often low quality and priced out of the reach of the majority,” she said. “The arrival of the Mayi Market is a game-changer for our communities and families. It was co-designed by the people of Cape York and continues to be improved by their input.”


In Cape York, a nutritious and healthy diet is often inaccessible or unaffordable. In some remote communities, a healthy diet can cost half the fortnightly income of a family on income support. Diets without fresh fruit and vegetables is a leading cause of low health with chronic diseases that infiltrate these communities.

One of the first residents to purchase a fresh food box was Aurukun Mayor, Keri Tamwoy who was keen to promote a healthy diet and was impressed by the quality of food.

“I believe it’s a good thing that Mayi Market is encouraging people to buy fruit and vegies. Fruit and vegies are a main part of your diet, especially when it comes to helping your immune system,” she said.

“Looking through the boxes I was like, ‘This is pretty good stuff’. I hope people do sign up and, if they are able, they purchase a box or two.

For local Judy Purcell, the launch of Mayi Market in Aurukun was something she had been waiting a while for.

“I’ve been following Mayi Market for 12 months,” she said. “When I saw you were coming, I was like, ‘Yes! It’s here'.”

With more than 2,500 boxes sold since its launch in the Cape, Mayi Market is just hitting its stride.

“The team has learnt a lot from our first year,” said Audrey. “Now we can put those lessons into action as we begin to roll this essential service out to more Cape York communities. Most Australians take the availability of affordable fresh food for granted. It’s something we want to bring to people right across the Cape."

 I believe it’s a good thing that Mayi Market is encouraging people to buy fruit and vegies.

Keri Tamwoy, Aurukun Mayor


Mayi Market is an initiative of Cape York Partnership and has been created to address the key objectives outlined in the Pama Futures Agenda, including Food Security.


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