Rebecca Barnes, (Playing with Fire) and Clayton Donovan recently attended the 5th Bush-foods Conference held at Griffith University. The conference gave an in-depth insight into the current research on Native foods and the applications. It has been proven that many of our native foods have some exciting applications from healing to food preservation. Most of the results from the scientific experiments show that healing properties of foods such as the Kakadu Plum and the Bush pepper are better than the synthesised drug- indicating a huge potential industry for Australia. Scientific tests have also shown that bush pepper in small quantities has the ability to preserve and extend shelf/fridge life of raw fish.
A great deal of discussion and presentation time was spent on the need to look at sustainable models for commercialisation of the bushfoods crops. Some interesting projects are underway in the territory that are actively planting crops more intensively into native vegetation to enable ease of harvest and to ensure that local Aboriginal people are able to tend and wild harvest crops: maintaining and planning to respect cultural sensitivities and needs.
The Federal Government has just engage Amanda Garner to undertake a project to encourage farmers to use Bushfoods products as part of agroforestry and to undertake research into the best way to commercialise these important bushfoods crops including the kakuda plum. We were told that the majority of Bushfoods are still wild harvested.
Some of the products in high demand at the moment include lemon myrtle, bush tomatoes, wattle seeds, kakadu plum, rosella flowers, bush pepper, and rainforest mint. There are great opportunities for western areas to grow bush tomatoes, there is a growing demand and very limited supply for these tasty little tomatoes.
Many of the speakers have agreed to present at the “Bushfood Sensations” conference and workshop being planned, so keep an eye out for information as the planning is finalised. We welcome all people involved in the Bushfoods industry to join our group by “listing their business” on our directory at http://bushfoodsensations.net/