Cultural Icons and Cash Commodities: The Two-World Story of Australian Bush Foods

Cultural Icons and Cash Commodities: The Two-World Story of Australian Bush Foods Thesis

Centre for Regional Engagement

  • Author(s): Cleary, Jennifer
  • Published: 2014
  • Publisher: University of South Australia
  • Volume: PhD

Abstract: Uniquely Australian flora and fauna, known as ‘bushfood’ or ‘bush tucker’ plays an important role in the daily lives of many Aboriginal peoples, particularly those living in remote Australia. Bush food provides a valuable contribution to diet, is used as a mechanism for passing on traditional knowledge about caring for country and being part of country. Specific plants and animals intrinsically linked to particular locations are thus culturally important to Aboriginal peoples and their country, from which place-based identity is derived. Products derived from bush foods also form the basis of the Australian bush foods industry where a growing domestic and international market is creating increased demand for raw supply from both wild-harvest and cultivation of many species of plants and animals. This research explored the nature of participation of remote Aboriginal peoples in the bush foods industry, and their positions in bush foods value chains. The study further explored the ways in which participatory action research (PAR) might be used as a vehicle for engagement of Aboriginal peoples in ongoing development in remote Australia. The research found that considerations of what constitutes ‘value’ in relation to bush foods might differ, according to worldview. Remote Aboriginal peoples attribute both socio-cultural and economic value to bush foods. These multiple considerations of value are important, in that they impact upon the ways in which remote Aboriginal peoples are engaging in the bush foods industry and the manner in which they may engage in the future. This finding may also have implications for other industries in which remote Aboriginal people are engaged, e.g. the art and tourism sectors. The research makes a unique contribution to developing new knowledge through the development and articulation of a framework that incorporates the domains of land, actions, relationships and commodities (LARC) in the construction of value. The LARC Value framework enables considerations of both economic and non-economic value representations in bush foods value chains.

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Suggested Citation
Cleary, Jennifer, 2014, Cultural Icons and Cash Commodities: The Two-World Story of Australian Bush Foods, Volume:PhD, Thesis, viewed 19 August 2022,

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