Centre’s children learn bush to plate cooking skills
By NICKI KASTNER*
tagari lia Child Family Centre has been running a project aimed at increasing the local community’s knowledge of, and confidence in using Tasmanian native bush foods. The sessions are held every Thursday morning for two hours during school terms. Everyone who participates in the cooking gets to enjoy eating the delicious food while sitting together and chatting.
The Tasmanian Bush Food to Plate sessions have been a wonderful success with children enjoying the cooking and the adults showing an active interest in learning about various bush foods. Some of the sessions that we have run over the previous term include a Bush Food High Tea – making herbal teas from native mint and Kunzea and coffee from wattle seed, making bush herb dukkha and dips, learning all about the amazing Mountain Pepper Berry and how to use it in everyday recipes, using bush herbs to make sausages from scratch; preparing a Tassie version of Chinese style dumplings, and how to use native celery in great tasting recipes.
All the adults, and most of the children have loved the food that we have been cooking – some of the children surprising their parents that they are trying new foods.
Some weeks we have also had planting activities adding to our native bush food garden – which the children love getting involved in. Some weeks we also include a story time. The children have particularly enjoyed the stories about how the wallaby lost his itch, how the wattle bird got his wattles and how the nanginyas, or bush elves, help keep all the plants alive, by weeing everywhere.
Regular participants in the sessions have been receiving herb jars with the bush herbs that we have been using and at the end of the term they will be able to take home their own native celery plant to plant in their own garden.
Our consultant Kris Schaffer has provided a wealth of knowledge and passion that we are sharing with our session participants. We have also had a couple of surprise visitors during our sessions including Rebecca White and Angus Stewart from Gardening Australia.
During our sessions we highlight the need for respect for the Indigenous culture and respect for the environment and encourage people not to go out into the bush to wild harvest. While encouraging interest and participation in using native bush foods we are very mindful that we do this in a respectful and safe manner, while still having loads of fun with the children and their parents and carers.
Coming up is the centre’s sixth birthday as Brighton Community Newsgoes to press where we will be having a bush food party to celebrate. For the children we have Make Believe joining us to provide some great fun entertainment. All the community are invited.
Following this is NAIDOC week, July 8-15, with the theme ‘Because of her, we can’, which celebrates the efforts and contributions of strong Aboriginal women who have left an incredible legacy to their communities by passing on knowledge, sharing traditions and overcoming adversity.
We celebrate these women, both past and present, while also nurturing future strong women and men who respect them. We have an exciting calendar of events to mark NAIDOC week, including Mega Mob activities on the Wednesday and a big cook up on the Thursday using our native bush foods. We look forward to celebrating with our local community.
*Nicki Kastner is tagari lia’s bush food facilitator for the Bush Food to Plate program
Tagari lia’s Tasmanian Bush Food to Plate sessions have been a great success with the children enjoying cooking and adults showing an active interest in learning about various bush foods.