Bush Foods are bridging cultural divides.
Bush-foods, also called bush-tucker, are one of the newest culinary exotics foods, found exclusively in Australia. These fascinating foods are not only delicious superfoods, they have helped reconcile Australia's great divide with its Original inhabitants. The growing popularization of bush foods has given Australia a unique and exotic new export industry, redefining the Australian bush-landscape as a rich and bountiful adventure-land. It has also afforded many Aboriginal people the opportunity to start a small but thriving sustainable industry.
As always, the logistics of selling naturally occurring foods can be tricky. In recent years the Australian government and various organizations have been working to offer networks of support for its indigenous peoples in their efforts to bring bush tucker to the markets. Australia recently released an information kit for Indigenous people called ‘Dream Shield,’ providing advice on the intellectual property system, including the use of patents for Indigenous people to protect their intellectual property. Aboriginal Bush Traders is another avenue of aid for indigenous entrepreneurs. An initiative of the Darwin Regional Indigenous Advancement & Community Development Employment Program Inc., Aboriginal Bush traders aims to assist in the commercialization and trade of “authentic products and services based on Aboriginal culture, art and experiences.” By providing services that relate to bush harvest, art, product development, tourism and retail activities, Aboriginal Bush hopes to help sustain the richness, wisdom and diversity of Aboriginal culture, while offering avenues for greater economic prosperity.
All told, it is incredibly important is to know where your Aussie tucker and bush medicines are coming from, and to buy from reliable and direct sources.
Twin Lakes Cultural Park is an Aboriginal business located near Beagle Bay, north of Broome on the Dampier Peninsula in the spectacular Kimberley region of Western Australia. Twin Lakes wild harvests traditional Nyul Nyul bush foods, including Gubinge, nature's super food. This green fruit, named for a tree more broadly known as the Kakadu Plum, has been an important bush food for northern Australian Indigenous people for millennia.
Gubinge contains phytochemicals such as gallic and ellagic acids. Gallic acid has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour, anti-mutagenic and anti-bronchodilatory activities. Ellagic acid is just as impressive— it has an anti-carcinogenic effect against a wide range of carcinogens in many human tissues. Buts its extraordinary levels of Vitamin C, 100 times more than any orange you my encounter, has been the real scene-stealer.
The LovingEarth food company is a major facilitator in the new Gubinge industry and they have been working together with Twin Lakes to produce a Gubinge powder. LovingEarth is a wonderful company that gives back to various communities as much as it possibly can. With this particular product, LovingEarth is making no profit at all on their sales, but operates solely to ensure that the plantation, its workers, and community is properly paid. The LovingEarth Company is guided by Bruno Dann, who lovingly tends a native Gubinge plantation on Twin Lakes using traditional fire and land management techniques to bring the plant to harvest in the wet season between December and May. Currently, there has been a massive influx of cash in the area around Broome, in North West Australia because of this kindhearted industry.
Twin Lakes is an important resource for anyone who is interested in learning more about bush tucker. Twin Lakes offer cultural and bush food tours for small groups of up to 8 people, and occasional fire management workshops. Inspired by an ancient Aboriginal story, the Twin Lakes themselves are named for two mystical sets of identical twins, boys and girls. The twin girls are named Gunmamirrd and the boys Goolyaroodk in the Nyul Nyul language. Both sets of twins lie on opposite sides of the bay to each other.
It’s refreshing to witness the parallel of what these companies and the growing popularization of bush foods is doing for the dominant white settlers and aboriginal culture in Australia. Valuing each entity as separate and distinct, this industry has brought the cultural depths and gifts of both societies into a more peaceful and reciprocal balance.
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