Busselton chef Paul Iskov has treated 20 people to original canapes of local Carnarvon bush foods, created at Gwoonwardu Mia Cultural Centre. Traditional owners had helped him forage the foods earlier that day. The event on August 7 was a cultural immersion experience on-country, according to Australian Biodiversity Conservation Foundation general manager Cherie Sibosado, who described it as very productive for the traditional owners. “It was about their being able to share their cultural knowledge of something they take as an everyday thing from their lives,” she said. The occasion was one of a series of nationwide consultations with Aboriginal people about their participation in the growing bush food industry, sponsored by not-for-profit company Food Innovation Australia. Noongar Land Enterprise Group conducted the session, and chief executive Alan Beattie said only one per cent of Aboriginal bush foods sold commercially were sourced from Aboriginal people. He said Food Innovation was asking: “how do we improve that, what are the barriers and how do we overcome those barriers?”. “Carnarvon is a strong food bowl, so how do Aboriginal people get a slice of that through bush produce?” he said. Mr Beattie said there were two common barriers to Aboriginal participation in the industry, the first being intellectual property rights. “The people’s ability to protect Aboriginal sacred lore and property rights is demonstrably lower than in Canada or New Zealand,” he said. “Aboriginal people are reluctant to go into the bush-food industry because they have no protection for what they are doing.” Mr Beattie said the second was access to land and land tenure. “Aboriginal people supposedly have access to large tracts of land, but getting access to land is difficult,” he said. “Because of caveats put over land, they can’t get a loan to go on that land. “They are common issues throughout Australia but there are always local nuances that come into play.” The Australian Biodiversity Conservation Foundation provided community liaison. Mr Beattie said his group was contracted to conduct the “Yoordaninj-Bah” consultations all over Australia.