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Bush food and medicine projects & small enterprises – Good resources to know about

2011 April 13
by anthea

There’s a growing interest in bush food and bush medicine gardens and product based community projects and micro enterprises – and there are key cultural and legal issues to consider along the journey.

Respecting local knowledge, ownership of knowledge and understanding and respecting ‘rights’ to know and to use is critical  - as is knowledge about key legal, regulatory and product development issues, so that the great products communities develop are ‘fit’ and ok for sale. Recently we’ve heard about some great new resources and an existing WA program that you and your communities might like to access to help work through key issues that need to be considered in the process. The Therapeutic Goods Act can pose some challenges – especially for bush medicine products and their sale. Below are some resources and key contacts you might like to follow up:

Aboriginal Bush Traders Bush Harvest Project  - have developed three valuable information booklets:

1.  Knowing your rights to your Aboriginal Plant Knowledge - provides Aboriginal knowledge holders with an overview of what people need to consider when developing plant based products.

2. An Analysis of Indigenous Body Products and Markets

3. A Support Manual - includes detailed information in regard to product development, legislative requirements, labelling and quality control.

For more information, or to obtain copies – contact:

The CRC for Remote Economic Participation are doing valuable work around the use of bush foods – building on past work on bush tomato value chains.

This work includes a strong focus on appropriate cultural protocols and ethics. Visit their website to learn more and get in touch.

‘Sowing the Seeds of Social Justice’ Project, WA. Fact sheets and workshops for communities on how to protect knowledge and collection of bush food and medicine.

The WA project offers workshops (1 day) and are free to communities.  Host communities need to be able to cover travel and accommodation, and provide a venue. Workshops are faciliated with input lawyers and scientists in relevant fields as expert backup. The project is an outcome of a grant from the Law Society of WA to research and write a series of legal fact sheets on topics nominated by Aboriginal people taking part in WA workshops.  These fact sheets are now on the Marr Mooditj Training website Under Links and Useful Information.  For further information: Jenna Zed, Burrany Bunitj, jennaz [@]

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