Grow an edible Australian native plant on Tucker Bush Day (14 July 2018) #TuckerBushDay
4 JULY 2018 (Perth): National Tucker Bush Day is an annual celebration of Australia’s edible native plants. This year, Australians can celebrate on 14 July (during NAIDOC week) by planting an edible native plant in their garden, adding a bushfood ingredient to a meal, or learning more about local plants and Aboriginal culture, and sharing on social media under the hashtag #TuckerBushDay.
Too few Australians are aware of native plants and their culinary, garden, household and health value. Hence, too few Australian gardens include native food species, favouring imported species instead.
According to Tucker Bush Day founder, Mark Tucek, “Native bush tucker is part of our national culture and heritage, and our biodiversity. Every Aussie kid — and adult, for that matter — should know what Finger Limes are. After all, they know what lemons are.”
Like Earth Hour and National Tree Day, this annual event promotes awareness of environment and culture, and encourages people to make a positive contribution to the world around them.
“By planting and growing more native bushfood plants, we put less of a strain on an environment already struggling to cope with the way we live. Many of our species are water wise and can grow in poor soils, sandy soils and saline soils,” Tucek continues.
Also underlying the Tucker Bush Day philosophy is a message of reconciliation. With Aboriginal culture and identity inextricably connected to the land, the prevalence of imported food species today is a long-standing effect of European colonisation. Tucker Bush Day hopes to help close the gap between mainstream Australian culture and its indigenous origins by promoting small, local acts of reconciliation.
Says Tucek, “Planting a native garden and cooking with bushfood are small, simple acts of restoring our unique landscape, embracing our natural resources in a sustainable way, and developing a personal connection to the land.”
In-season species, ideal for planting this month, include:
Illawarra Plum: Also called “Daalgaal”, “Goongum” or “Plum Pine”. Its large, fleshy purple-black berries ripen between March and July and are soft and sweet, perfect for jellies, chutneys and jams.
Bolwarra: Also known as Native Guava, a remnant of the first flowering plants of Gondwana. The aromatic fruit is sweet and creamy. May be used in cooking, or dried and crushed into a spice.
Lemon Myrtle: A leafy, lemon shrub already known, but infrequently used, in Australian cuisine. It has long been included in Aboriginal food and medicine.
Midyim Berries: Considered the most delicious of all the bush tucker plants, similar to blueberries in taste and shape. Also called “midgen berry” and “sand berry”.
Ooray: Sweet and tart red-fleshed fruits, high in antioxidants and vitamins. Also known as the QLD Davidson Plum.
Mark Tucek is available for enquiries via email on firstname.lastname@example.org, via the Tucker Bush website at www.tuckerbush.com.au, or via phone at +61 407 193 983.