Tuck in!

A FREO woman says adding bush tucker to our diets can help improve WA’s sustainability and preserve its unique flora.

Jacinta Taylor hopes to initially set up at Randwick Stables Community Garden off Rockingham Road in Hamilton Hill and needs support at her upcoming Threatened Species Fundraiser on Friday September 6 between 6-9pm at the Moore Building on Henry Street.

Traditionally from the Guilderton and Moore River area, Ms Taylor’s family has been around the Walyalup area since the 1950s and is often found in the Cockburn Wildlife Corridor foraging and taking conservation photography. Her photographic exhibition Our Country will be on display during the fundraiser.

• Jacinta Taylor’s conservation art photography of a Balga tree.

Nature’s supermarket

“Growing up with my dad, he saw the bush as nature’s supermarket. You have everything you need to survive,” Ms Taylor said.

She says there’s great potential for the horticulture and farming industry to cut down on the water and fertiliser used on traditional crops.

“I have friends that are farmers who are having to use more and more chemicals on their European crops and their land is turning to dust,” she says.

Her wish is to grow several species of yams including youlk and warrine as well as other vegetables including WA smokebush, WA samphire – a salty sea asparagus – and bloodroot – a native chilli.

“These species grow all over WA and are hardy and highly nutritious.”

She says the beauty of these native local plants is they can simply replace the regular potato and other vegetables, and often don’t require any watering at all.

“My whole stance is on sustainability. These foods need no more water than what is provided by the rain. They’re used to this climate.”

“When you cut them, they have similar moisture content found in a regular roots and vegetables.”

She also recognises the need for people to help with harvesting and preparation.

Randwick Stables have regular market days and can assist people with learning how to harvest or prepare foods so Jacinta is hoping to set up permanent signage and hold regular bush tucker talks.

“Sometimes it can be difficult to know which plants are edible and how to prepare native foods without getting sick.”

“A lot of people walk past the gardens. Lots of indigenous kids who could learn and people who want to learn how to harvest.”

She thinks with more awareness people would be growing natives en masse and providing them to supermarkets, popular nurseries like Bunnings and growing them in their backyards. “If more people were screaming out for it, it would happen.”

by TATIANA DALIN

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