There are plenty of edible native plants around Tasmania, if you know where to look and what to look for.
A workshop held in West Tamar on Saturday helped participants learn to identify and eat native bush foods, presented by expert Kris Schaffer for NRM North.
The workshop presented some of the information now available in a brochure on edible native plants that was produced by Kat Hopkins and Chris Cumming through federal funding with the National Landcare Program.
“There’s a wonderful resurgence with the interest in our cuisine, but for us with Natural Resource Management it’s about a re-connection with country,” Ms Schaffer said.
“It’s the indigenous way of honouring where our food comes from, so if we look at what is from the natural bush then we can really learn and appreciate how the Aboriginal people had this totally different way of looking at food.”
She said paying attention to the source of food in such a way was similar to saying grace before a meal, paying respects to the food being eaten.
“We do this every time, it’s like welcome to country – it’s not just a tokenistic break, it’s about honouring and respecting,” Ms Schaffer said.
About 40 people took part in the workshop, identifying and trying out a range of edible native plants, and learning how to grow, harvest and preserve different native foods.
Ms Schaffer said she was particularly pleased to see young children taking part in the workshop and walk through the native gardens, giving them new perspective on their connections to the land and Tasmania’s Indigenous heritage.
“I’m really glad to see children here because it’s growing respect, that’s my latest drive,” she said.
“Working with children brings the Aboriginal dreaming stories that we’ve been told about our responsibilities to Mother Nature.”
She said a growing interest in native plants and bush food on a commercial level, including Sydney restaurants, was trickling through to public awareness about the food on offer in the Australian landscape, as well as increased efforts to re-connect with the land.
The brochure on edible plants is available at NRM North in Cameron Street.