Bush tucker opportunities on the menu

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Larry Blight and South Coast NRM Project Officer Peter Twigg with bush food.
Camera IconLarry Blight and South Coast NRM Project Officer Peter Twigg with bush food. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Have you ever wondered how you can include more bush tucker in your diet?

South Coast Natural Resource Management is hosting Merinj Kaartdijin — Aboriginal Food Knowledge Forum to show how it can be done.

The forum is the first step in combating the challenges ahead for an expanding niche market, which South Coast NRM hopes will create new opportunities for indigenous people in agriculture.

The event will happen over two days, with discussions to take place on the first day, followed by a guided tour on Menang country to forage for bush foods on day two.

South Coast NRM project officer Peter Twigg said while finger limes, lemon myrtle and Kakadu plums were popular bush foods, there were many other foods that could be used in a western diet.

“There is a plethora of bush foods and products out there and when you think about saline foods and salt-tolerant plants, there is a real niche there for food products and agriculture,” he said.

“We have a lot of salty land in the Great Southern and it grows salty plants well and a lot of those plants are food plants and have a ready-made market into the food industry.

“There are also many plants that have health benefits, flavour benefits or some other property about them that are yet to be discovered and be utilised in the food, medicine and health industry.”

Edible sandalwood nuts, wattle seed flours and saltbush plant foods are some of the bush foods with health benefits and innovative agriculture potential.

Kurrah Mia part-owner and local tour guide Larry Blight will be taking participants on the field trip on day two to learn where the foods can be found.

Mr Twigg said bush tucker could be used as a tool for reconciliation.

“We hope that Aboriginal people will have the chance to be at the head of the pack as that comes to pass,” Mr Twigg said.

“It is another way of Menang people and other cultures in the region, with the Great Southern rich in diversity in bush foods, to bring these things together.

“There is a very good marketing opportunity to say that these products are of Aboriginal provenance — locally grown and locally owned. That should be benefiting Aboriginal people.

“It is timely to bring together experts, marketers and the Aboriginal community to look at the opportunities emerging.”

The forum will be on Friday, November 22 and Saturday, November 23 at the Albany Entertainment Centre. For tickets, visit trybooking.com/BGDRW.

For details, contact Mr Twigg on 9845 8537 or petert@southcoastnrm.com.au.

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