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Bulgarr Ngaru Fruit and Vegetable Program



In 2005 the Bulgarr Ngaru Aboriginal Medical Service and Baryulgil Public School in northern NSW teamed up to create a market garden and fruit and vegetable program. The aim was to help children be healthy and get the most out of school.

The market garden was built in the school and maintained by the school children, staff and local Community Development Employment Projects Program (CDEP) workers. The children had daily fresh fruit and vegetables at school and learnt about preparing healthy meals and budgeting.

The provision of subsidised fruit and vegetables has been extended beyond the school to five other communities that Bulgarr Ngaru services: Grafton, Baryulgil, Malabugilmah, Yamba and Maclean.

For $5 a week each family receives a $40 box of fruit and vegetables, a couple of simple, seasonal recipes and practical cooking classes with dietitians. In return the families agree to annual health assessments including dental and hearing checks.

Feedback from the community showed strong community support for the program. Health testing before, during and after implementation of the program showed a dramatic reduction in recurrent otitis media and skin infections. Preliminary results from the nutritional assessments suggest that there have been positive changes to the health and nutritional status of the children.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract


Bulgarr Ngaru Medical Aboriginal Corporation
Grafton Clinic
131 Bacon Street
Grafton NSW 2460
PO Box 170
South Grafton NSW 2460
Ph: (02) 6643 2199
Fax: (02) 6643 2202

Related publications

Black A, Monaghan S (2011)

Impact of subsidised fruit and vegetables on the health and nutrition of Aboriginal children.

Paper presented at the Coalition for Research to Improve Aboriginal Health. 5-6 May 2011, Sydney

Black A, Vally H, Morris P, Jones R, Smith F, O'Dea K (2010)

Subsidised fruit and vegetables for Aboriginal families - health intervention or just a handout?.

Paper presented at the 2010 Primary Health Care Research Conference. 30 June - 2 July 2010, Darwin

Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW (2009)

10 out of 10 deadly health stories: nutrition and physical activity.

Surry Hills, NSW: Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW

The 10 out of 10 deadly health stories - nutrition and physical activity booklet presents 10 successful nutrition and physical activity programs from New South Wales (NSW) Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs). Programs ranged from cooking classes (Cooking Classes for Diabetes Program) and teaching of life skills (Healthy Lifestyle and Weight Management Program), to community based activities (Fruit and Vegetable Program and Market Garden and Building Healthy Communities Project). Despite the diversity in health topics they all shared several features, namely all were developed and tailored to meet needs identified by the Aboriginal communities in which the ACCHSs are located, and all have taken a 'holistic' approach.

The booklet was developed, produced and distributed by the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AHMRC) of NSW and funding was provided by the Australian Department of Health and Ageing.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Jones R, Smith F (2006)

Are there health benefits from improving basic nutrition in a remote Aboriginal community?.

Australian Family Physician; 35(6): 453-454

Evaluated publications

Black AP, Vally H, Morris PS, Daniel M, Esterman AJ, Smith FE, O’Dea K (2013)

Health outcomes of a subsidised fruit and vegetable program for Aboriginal children in northern New South Wales.

Medical Journal of Australia; 199(1): 46-50


Last updated: 2 August 2017
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