Traditional foods, wellbeing and food security in remote Aboriginal communities - Topic 1

Traditional foods, wellbeing and food security in remote Aboriginal communities - Topic 1


In northern Australia, Indigenous people in remote communities rely on traditional foods to supplement their diets which are often based on refined foods purchased from local community stores. Customary harvesting activities are thought to critically contribute to local food security and provide important sources of protein and micronutrients. The linkages between indigenous health and wellbeing and access to ‘country' are increasingly recognised. Despite this, there have been few detailed studies into the harvest practices and consumption of traditional foods of Aboriginal peoples and the contribution to food security.

The PhD studies would be conducted jointly with RIEL and Menzies as a multidisciplinary project aimed to quantify Indigenous dependence on traditional foods and the extent of that contribution, as well as detailed study around food sharing and food security (availability, access and utilisation) and contribution to livelihoods and wellbeing. The research would require extended periods of field research in remote Aboriginal communities in the NT.

Topic 1: This study would examine the collection and consumption of traditional foods in selected community(s) and consider the linkages between food, health and wellbeing and consumption of store-purchased foods. The outcomes of the research would be a methodology appropriate to Indigenous cultural contexts to provide current and relevant estimates of traditional food consumption (currently thought to be underestimated based on current literature) over the course of a 12 month period. It would require extended fieldwork in one or more Aboriginal communities with a selection of households to pilot methods and tools, and to collect data on household practices and food consumption. The research would provide a nutritional profile of households based on harvesting and store based foods.



Australian candidates are encouraged to apply for an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) through Charles Darwin University. More information about eligibility to apply for an APA here:

Opportunities exist to enrol in a joint CDU-ANU PhD degree.  Funds to support some field research costs are available through CDU. Applicants are encouraged to apply for additional funding to support travel and field research.



31 October 2013



Dr Natasha Stacey, Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University. Email:

Dr Julie Brimblecombe, Menzies School of Health Research, Menzies. Email:

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