For more than 65,000 years First Nations peoples of Australia have used native foods for eating and medicinal purposes. Bush tucker includes flora and fauna – animal and plant products, many of the plants can be grown in your own garden.
Wildlife film maker Malcolm Douglas (1960s), and the Les Hiddins, The Bush Tucker Man (1980s), popularised living off the land and bush tucker foods. Today, Australia’s bush foods are well renowned for their wonderful nutritional and gourmet uses with more and more home gardeners taking the plunge and planting these amazing natives. The benefits of growing native bush foods are many. These plant species are perfectly suited to our growing conditions in terms of climate, soils and rainfall and rarely need pesticides or fertiliser. What more can a gardener ask for!
Incorporating some native bush foods into your home gardens is easier than you think. Start out simple with some herbs or native fruits.
- Native Thyme, Native Rivermint, Midyim Berries, Illawarra Plum, Tucker Bush Cherries, Macadamia Nut and Davidson’s Plum
- Warrigal Greens – as a spinach substitute
- Native Violet – flowers are great in salads
- Native Rosella – makes a delicious jam
- Lemon Mrytle – fabulous for tea making or lemongrass substitute
- Native Finger Lime – for any dish requiring lime flavours
Your take on a bush tucker garden can be adapted to suit your circumstances - container garden on the balcony, a dedicated built-up bed in the yard or even larger bushes and trees if space is available. There are native plants of all shapes and sizes that allow everyone to introduce and use bush tucker on your next dinner plate!
Check out these titles:
- The Australian Bushman exploring the hidden secrets of the Sunshine Coast - Hosted by Jamie Hazelden, featuring Kabi Kabi man Kerry Neil
- Bush Tucker Man. The complete collection
Browse for inspiration with these eMagazines:
- Gardening Australia
- Better Homes and Gardens
- Earth Garden
- ABC Organic Gardener Magazine
To get started using free eMagazines download the RBDigital app, select Sunshine Coast Libraries and enter your member number and password.
Stream world native food documentaries with Kanopy:
To set up a Kanopy account to stream more films and documentaries for free. First-time customer - select Add Library Card and enter your member number and password.
- All The Dirt podcast – Episode 17: Australian Bush Tucker Plants
- SBS Radio discovers the delicious and nutritious world of bush tucker
- Better Homes and Gardens podcast – Plant names explained and growing bush tucker
On the web
More native inspiration:
- Read up on Your guide to edible Australian flora with Australian Geographic.
- Join Gardening Australia host Tino for a NAIDOC Week episode on Bush Tucker.
- Sample some bush tucker flavours from bushfoodshop.com.au.
- Check out these great Info sheets from Sunshine Coast locals Witjutigrub Bushfood Nursery – Why not plan a visit!
- Join up and learn with the Queensland Bushfood Association Inc.
- Peppermint Ridge Farm – Bush food blog: Celebrating Australia’s native foods.
- All about bush tucker with Handyman.net.au.
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