Traditional foods, wellbeing and food security in remote Aboriginal communities - Topic 2

Traditional foods, wellbeing and food security in remote Aboriginal communities - Topic 2


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 2: This PhD study would examine issues around food security (access, availability and use of food). The research would apply a sustainable livelihoods analysis to consider the social, economic, cultural, natural, financial and physical assets of Indigenous households, and strategies and relationships and connections of these to traditional food use and livelihood outcomes. The research would conduct a detailed investigation of the way food is caught, harvested, shared and consumed and key factors which influence this (i.e. skills, kinship, access to country, custodianship, equipment).  The research will have relevance to current and future health and nutrition programs and benefits in increasing access for Aboriginal people to maintain activity on country. The research would also attempt to identify reliable indicator(s) of traditional food use that could inform future studies investigating links between diet and health and wellbeing.



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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