Using the cultural appeal of bush tucker to market healthy food

Ms Maxine  Daley1, Renee Watts1

1Queensland Health, Palm Beach, Australia


Adequate fruit and vegetable intake helps to prevent chronic health problems such as cardiovascular disease, some cancers and obesity. According to the 2012-13 Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, ninety five percent (95%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people did not meet the recommended serves of vegetables a day, and less than half (43%) consumed adequate serves of fruit. Health promotion campaigns aimed at increasing fruit and vegetable intake amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities need to consider the sociocultural aspects of food choices. The Bush Tucker Calendar involved utilising the cultural appeal of bush tucker to market seasonal fruit and vegetables to the Gold Coast Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community. Each calendar month featured a local, seasonal bush tucker ingredient featured in a healthy, convenient and affordable recipe. Promoted throughout the community via a series of cooking demonstrations at cultural events and health centres, uptake of the calendar has been overwhelmingly positive, with survey respondents reporting outcomes such as using elements of the calendar to embed Indigenous perspectives into school based programs; cooking the recipes at home; and encouraging a feeling of pride and ownership of food culture for some community members who have used the information based in the calendar to promote the foods to family and friends. However, further work is required to increase access to bush tucker, with possible future directions involving school and community bush tucker garden programs.


Maxine Daley

I have worked as a dietitian/nutritionist within the Gold Coast Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community for the past 12 years. I have merged my passion for cooking and nutrition with my passion for bush tucker to create strategies aimed at engaging consumers in nutrition promotion activities.

Renee Watts

I am a Wiradjuri woman and my family come from Darling Point and Leeton in New South Wales. I was born in Sydney and moved to the Gold Coast in 1994.

I am an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Health Worker focussing on antenatal. I am passionate about working with families to support them to bring their babies into the world with the best start in life and helping to set them on a pathway to grow into great leaders of the future.

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