Feast of Aboriginal food knowledge

Three men at food forum

Aboriginal knowledge about bush foods can contribute to long overdue cultural renewal, according to presenters and audience members at the Merinj Kaartdijin Aboriginal Food Knowledge Forum held in Albany on Friday 21 November.

Presented by South Coast Natural Resource Management, the forum was supported by National Landcare, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and the GSDC.
Member for Albany Peter Watson opened the event and set off a day of presentations on bush foods, culture, marketing and agriculture.

Speakers included Joe Morrison, the former Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Lands Council, who delivered the keynote address.

Lawyers Charisma Cubillo and Desiree Leha presented information on the potential and limitations of using intellectual property law to protect bush food knowledge.

American Indian tourism leader Ben Sherman, of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) nation, gave a presentation on first nation peoples and cultural renewal, and joined Noongar elders Oral McGuire and Vernice Gillies in a conversation on bush foods as a pathway to cultural renewal and community well-being.

Dr Geoff Woodall, a GSDC Medallist, presented information on two decades of research into bush food cultivation. Speakers also addressed the implications of foraging, and product development of saline bush foods.

In the breaks during the day-long program, delegates were treated to snacks and lunch prepared with bush food ingredients by Kinjarling Djinda Ngardak, a training initiative developing hospitality skills among young Aboriginal people.

On the following day, delegates took a bus tour taking in the Kalgan Fish Traps and a bush foraging walk.

Four students preparing food

Top photo: From left, Oral McGuire, Ben Sherman and Joe Morrison were among the lead presenters at the Aboriginal food knowledge forum.

Bottom photo: Students from the Kinjarling Djinda Ngardak training initiative prepared the food for the forum.

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