The business of bush foods: ecological and socio-cultural implications

The business of bush foods: ecological and socio-cultural implications Thesis

Mawson Graduate Centre for Environmental Studies

  • Author(s): Berkinshaw, Todd Darren
  • Published: 1999
  • Publisher: University of Adelaide
  • Volume: Master of Environ. Studies

Abstract: This dissertation examines the emergence and growth of plant-based bush foods within the mainstream economy in the past two decades. In particular, it addresses the ecological and socio-cultural implications associated with their commercial utilisation. This includes the study of traditional ethnobotany, intellectual property rights, Aboriginal self-determination and reconciliation, sustainable land management and conservation through sustainable use. The research techniques employed in the study were qualitative. This predominantly involved the undertaking of formal and informal interviews with members or associates of the Australian bush food industry; and field research involving visits to commercial plantations, value adding kitchens, the retail sector, and the wild habitats of species selected for commercial use. A literature review was also undertaken broadly covering the above mentioned topics. The results of the research indicated that a degree of controversy surrounds the commercial use of bush food products, being associated with both positive and negative impacts on the natural landscape and indigenous culture. Steps identified to positively address these impacts were: - a review of the legislation pertaining to the wild harvesting of native flora, with the aim of increasing the accountability of such practices; - the establishment of a Peak Sectoral Body to promote research into, and increase the awareness of, the ecological value of native food crops; - the establishment, or clear identification, of a Peak Indigenous Body to more actively represent and promote the views of Aboriginal people within the industry; - a review of the legislation pertaining to intellectual property rights, with the aim of providing a form of legislative protection for the communally held knowledge of Aboriginal people; - research into the models that would facilitate appropriate, equitable and beneficial relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous members of the industry.

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Suggested Citation
Berkinshaw, Todd Darren, 1999, The business of bush foods: ecological and socio-cultural implications, Volume:Master of Environ. Studies, Thesis, viewed 18 April 2024,

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