IN AN Australian first, 20 students completing a certificate three in Bush Food Production at Wollongbar TAFE will graduate this week.
Participants learnt how to grow and cook bush food with a view of entering the bush food industry, which is currently booming.
The course was opened to Indigenous Australians from May last year and organisers were amazed to see how popular it has become.
One student, Helen Duroux, of the Kamilaroi people in Tenterfield said the course was extremely beneficial as it has helped her grow her own business.
"I've concentrated on researching a lot of cold climate bush tucker, which has been an awesome journey,” Ms Duroux said.
"It's helped me because I've learnt which plants will grow from cuttings, which ones will grow from seeds, how to propagate and even to make my own potting mix.”
With her business partner Ms Duroux has created a range of bush teas and spices over the past 6 months.
Her business is called Marumalay, which is the Karmilaroi word for 'healing each other'.
She said she found out about the new course after it was shared on Facebook to the Aboriginal Pathways page.
"I enrolled because I have always been interested in learning more about bush food and its production,” Ms Duroux said.
Head Teach of Agriculture and Production Horticulture Gary Zohrab said the 56 students enrolled in its first year came from all over the state to complete the course.
"We've got students that are coming here from Wilcannia and from down around Wagga Wagga and so it is the whole state,” Mr Zohrab said.
Mr Zohrab said he was happy to see how successful the course had been.
"It's been a real eye opener because of the cultural differences between areas, what's a native food in one area that can grow here for instances at Wollongbar can't been grown in other places in the State and vice versa,” he said.
Ms Duroux and her classmates said they hope the course will continue so that others can have the opportunity to complete such a fantastic course.
"The teaching staff here have been absolutely amazing and the farms we have visited with the bush tucker,” she said.
"I would recommend to anybody, to jump on if the course is offered again because it has been an awesome learning journey for me.”
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