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Indigenous woman Rayleen Brown is slowly but surely convincing food lovers that the bush tucker eaten by Aboriginal people for tens of thousands of years is healthy and tasty.

She owns Kungkas Can Cook, which ethically sources bush tucker from women living in remote Indigenous communities.

Her key customers are wholesalers, who turn her wattle seed into fruit bars and muesli, and tourists, who love to use her “dukkah”, a mix of seeds, nuts and spices, as seasoning.

Kungkas Can Cook – Kungkas means “women” – has an online shop at

“When I first started buying bush foods, I was really interested to find out more about the women who wild harvest these beautiful products,” Ms Brown says.

“Growing up myself in the bush, living off these bush foods, I wanted to link up with these women who had such a rich knowledge about plants and stories and Country and the environment.”

While working with Desert Knowledge Australia in Alice Springs, she looked at the potential of bush foods and how the fledgling industry could help people living in remote communities.

“I started to think about the value chain and how far apart the manufacturers were from these women who were the primary producers. 

“They are not farmers as we might think of farmers – they might not have tractors and own a farm and massive sheds, or have a business name, but they were trading in the old ways, required for survival in the desert. 

“We are so lucky to have these women who have this absolute strength of knowledge about plants and Country and, that now, this knowledge is something they can use to produce an economy they and their communities can benefit from.

“Harvesting is something the women thoroughly enjoy.

“When you look at the environment they are working in, it is such a stark contrast from where these products are ending up in the city – on supermarket chain shelves across Australia or in gourmet restaurants. 

“We really need to make these women visible in the industry. 

“When meeting with manufacturers or industry people, I always share stories about these amazing women who are working really hard to bring this wonderful organic seed and fruit, all of which still have a strong story line and song connected to it. Each seed and fruit is enriched with a song and story that connects them back to their Country and their people.”


Kungkas Can Cook