Rural and remote home care provider integratedliving has been awarded a national gong for its innovative range of home delivered meals incorporating Australian native food.
The recipes were developed by Australia’s only hatted indigenous chef Clayton Donovan, who is also the star of the ABC TV program Wild Kitchen.
The meals, which include roo lasagna with bush tomatoes and Burmese chicken with lemon myrtle, fuse western and native ingredients and are currently being delivered to indigenous communities throughout NSW and Queensland under the Commonwealth Home Support Program.
Integratedliving’s clinical governance manager, Bron McCrae, said there was an emerging body of research identifying the health benefits of native foods, which contain high levels of anti-oxidants.
To produce the new meal range, Clayton Donovan worked with integratedliving’s current provider of delivered meals, the Flagstaff Group, a social enterprise that employs over 275 people with a disability.
Following the creation of the recipes, integratedliving embarked on a taste testing exercise with communities in Coffs Harbour and far north Queensland. Ms McCrae said the feedback from elders was overwhelmingly positive, with many commenting on the flavour and appeal of the new meals.
In recognition of the team’s initiative, the organisation was named the Team Excellence Award winner at the 2016 HESTA Australian Nursing Awards last week.
As a next step, integratedliving is aiming to study the nutritional value of native foods and the impact on the health outcomes in the Aboriginal communities where it works.
Ms McCrae said the organisation is also exploring the introduction of bush tucker into side dishes and meal accompaniments, as well as establishing pop-up stalls.
In addition to the delivery of frozen meals to indigenous clients in the community, integratedliving is also in talks with local schools to set up an intergenerational ‘cook and yarn’ program to bring school-aged children and indigenous elders together through the sharing of knowledge of local bush food.
Ms McCrae told Community Care Review the organisation was planning to use its $10,000 development grant to employ indigenous workers to support the introduction of the meals into indigenous communities and work side by side with indigenous elders to explain the nutritional value of the meals and to discuss health and nutrition.
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