Decolonise Your Diet Episode 10 “A Bushtucker Health Revolution”

Interview with Mike and Gayle Quarmby who planted over 500,000 bushfood plants on Aboriginal communities.

The Outback Pride Project is promoting the Australian native food industry by developing a network of production sites within traditional Aboriginal communities.

The cultivation of Australian native food provides indigenous Australians with jobs and training in horticulture and the food industry. The project also acknowledges the intellectual property of the traditional uses of bush foods.

Mike and Gayle felt that their combined skills could provide a platform for a unique development in the bush food industry. The focus of the project is their vision of “Jobs and Training for Indigenous Australians”.  Mike Quarmby has had a lifetime of experience in the commercial horticultural industry. During that time he was particularly involved in the development of arid zone horticultural practices. Mike’s talent for innovation in species development, plant propagation, cultivation and new product development was always an integral part of this project.  Gayle’s family involvement with traditional communities goes back to 1932, when her father Rex Battarbee travelled in a model T Ford to the central Australian desert. While at Hermannsburg Rex met a young camel team worker called Albert Namatjira. They developed a strong friendship, which resulted in Rex training Albert as a landscape artist.

Mike and Gayle, saw that the bush food industry should be operated as a parallel to the aboriginal art industry. Both these industries have a unique cultural and commercial ownership by Indigenous Australians.  The journey, beginning in 2001, has taken Mike and Gayle on a complex and interesting path. Initially they spent time in the outback with aboriginal people researching the bush food species. While mapping the best types relative to their commercial potential, invaluable support was received from their good friend and botanist Peter Latz.  The next step was to create the systems of propagation and cultivation for up to 64 bush food species. This process continues to be ongoing and consumes a large amount of Mike’s time. The systems developed at this time were then put into practice on numerous trial sites in across South Australia and Northern Territory. http://www.outbackpridefresh.com.au/about/our-story/

We hope you enjoyed this documentary series, brought to you by mother and son team Kaiyu and Tiga Bayles.  But the idea for the doco came from the late, great Tiga Bayles.  Spoken about with his daughter Kaiyu, before he passed away in April last year. It’s a great honour to pay tribute to one of the founders of this station and a pioneer in Black Media among many other achievements.

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