• "Continuing to share my culture, as I say you are never too old or too young young to learn..." Marissa Verma of Bindi Bindi Dreaming. (Instagram)
Want to sample delicious native foods and eat your way through NAIDOC Week this year? Here's just a taste of the many community events that will shine a spotlight on Australia's ancient bush foods.
By
Yasmin Noone

4 Jul 2019 - 1:07 PM  UPDATED 8 Jul 2019 - 10:51 AM

What better vehicle is there to celebrate the history and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples this NAIDOC Week than Indigenous cuisine?

From Sunday 7 to 14 July, communities across the country will pay tribute to the ancient Indigenous voice of this country through a range of events which all shine a spotlight on the value of bush foods that have been used for 65,000 years. 

Hundreds of events, each acknowledging this year’s NAIDOC Week theme 'Voice. Treaty. Truth.' will take place across Australia. The hardest decision you’ll have to make is working out which one to attend!

So here’s a shortlist of NAIDOC Week community activities that focus on food and feasting.

1. Conversation and an inclusive food community

At the heart of all good dinners is a cross-cultural conversation with meaning.

On Monday 8 July from 5-8pm, the event ‘Culture in Conversation: Creating Inclusive Food Communities’ will take place at the University of Sydney’s New Law School.

Hosted by Sydney Environment Institute, FoodLab and YARN Australia, the free event aims to unite Sydneysiders for an evening of ceremony, performance, meaningful conversation, food and stories.

Attendees will feast on soup and damper before being invited to participate talk about how Sydney-wide neighbourhoods can create a more inclusive food community for all. 

“Through the prism of food and the format of a yarn, we invite communities across Sydney to participate in a cross-cultural and meaningful conversation about inclusivity at this NAIDOC week event,” organisers say online.  

For more information about the event, click here.

FREE Kup Murri Lunch - Bundaberg Sunday, July 7, 2019 - 12:00 to 1:30pm A Kup Murri is a traditional Torres Strait...

Posted by Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Foundation on Monday, July 1, 2019

2. An Earth oven feast

Bundaberg locals have the opportunity to indulge in a free Kup Murri feast on Sunday 7 July at the South Sea Islander Complex (QLD) from midday to 1.30pm.

Kup Murri is an Indigenous method of cooking vegetables and meat, wrapped in paperbark, in a pit under the ground.

The ancient cooking method hails from Torres Strait Islands and Cape York. The 'Earth oven' style of cooking is popular throughout the Pacific and is similar to the lovo in Fiji, Hawaii’s imu and the Māori hangi.

“A hole dug in the ground and a large fire is allowed to burn down,” reads a food technology article from Indigenous Australia online, explaining how a kup murri is created. 

“Large stones are laid over the fire and heated by the coals. Leaves of palm trees or paperbark are used to line the heated pit with meats and vegetables laid in the hollow. These are covered with leaves and dirt and allowed to cook. After many hours the food is removed, and it tastes great.”

To find out more about the event, click here.

Posted by Noongar Kaartdijin Aboriginal Corporation on Saturday, June 29, 2019

3. Cooking with bush herbs

A West Australian NAIDOC Week celebration, which includes cooking with bush foods and bush medicine awareness workshops, is set to create an authentic and powerful Aboriginal experience at Toodyay on Sunday 7 July.

Toodyay is located about 85 kilometres northeast of Perth in the Avon Valley.

Noongar Kaartdijin Aboriginal Corporation will host the free NAIDOC celebration, Makuru Dudja (meaning winter mist), for people of all ages from 10am-3pm. And there is cooking with bush herbs session from Bindi Bindi Dreaming, which will take place at 11.30am and 1.30pm.

Indigenous Australian chef Zach Green thinks food is the key to reconciliation
He might just be on to something. "Meals made with Indigenous foods create an opportunity for diners to learn more about and connect with Indigenous peoples. We get to learn, rather than judge.”

Marissa Verma of Bindi Bindi Dreaming says Makuru Dudja’s food-focused workshops will share Indigenous culture in a positive way. 

“At the workshop, I will help promote the traditional herbs and spices in powdered form,” Verma tells SBS. “I’ll talk about how you can grow fresh produce at home. People will also be able to see what you can make out of traditional herbs and learn about their health and wellbeing benefits.”

Verma expects to cook fruit kebabs drizzled with native river mint on the day. “This herb refreshes the fruit and your body.” She’ll also make a lemon myrtle cake, chocolate river mint cake and healthy gluten-free snacks like hummus dip infused with mountain pepper and saltbush.

Visit the event page on Facebook to learn more. 

Chocolate rivermint cupcakes 🧁

Posted by Cooking with Bindi Bindi on Sunday, May 19, 2019

4. Indigenous culinary delights

One of Victoria’s largest regional TAFEs, The Gordon, will hold a NAIDOC Week lunch cooked by the students from The Gordon Culinary School, Geelong, on Friday 19 July from midday to 1.30pm.

The lunch, held at the school's Davidson Restaurant, will highlight the creativity of culinary students – the next generation of chefs – and the flavours of Indigenous ingredients.

The menu will feature an Indigenous tasting plate for main and dessert that will include native flowers, fruits, herbs, spices, seafood and kangaroo.

Tickets for the lunch are still available (at the time of writing) through Eventbrite and cost $25.

Bush tucker meets fine coffee at this social cafe
Terri Waller and her mob are making social change happen, one cup of Dirty Myrtle at a time at Deadly Espresso cafe. #NAIDOC2018 #BecauseOfHerWeCan

5. Bush food picnic

Learn about the traditional seasons and how they influence the kinds of foods that can be hunted and gathered throughout Sydney, with a bush food tour and picnic at the Wild Play Discovery Centre at Centennial Parklands.

The guided bush walk and picnic will be on Saturday 13 July 12.30-2.30pm.

The two-hour event starts out with a bush walk and foraging with a local guide, who will teach participants about various seasonal native bush foods and their cultural uses. Attendees will then enjoy a three-course seasonal tasting bush tucker feast, prepared by Aboriginal chefs and educators.

The tour costs $65 for adults and $59 for children.

Centennial Parklands will also run an Aboriginal Heritage tour on Sunday 7 July, featuring the same educational bush walk, and serve tea and damper for $40. Keep an eye out on the park’s website for other regular events and bush walk tours.

For more information on the bush walk and picnic, click here.

National NAIDOC Week runs 7 - 14 July 2019. For information head to the official site. Join the conversation #NAIDOC2019 & #VoiceTreatyTruth. Learn more about NAIDOC Week and community-based events happening throughout Australia by visiting NAIDOC Week online.

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