Palya Mayi Project putting healthy food on plates

Updated 15 Nov 2017.


Our Regional Education Officer Liz Bakowski during a cooking demonstration with Celeste Frank and Sharna Bumba


A local project is making it easier for the people of the Kimberley community of Bidyadanga to make healthier food choices at the supermarket.

The Palya Mayi Project, which means ‘good food' in the local language, uses a label system to help shoppers identify the foods that are nutritious for their family to eat.

The project is an important partnership between our Kimberley Regional Education Officer Liz Bakowski, Boab Health Services Paediatric Nutritionist Emma Robinson, and the community of Bidyadanga.

The label itself depicts the community's totem, the emu, and was designed by local artist Nuria Jadai.

"The dreaming of Bidyadanga is the emu, that's why I chose it. It also represents our football club. I and other Bidgy people wanted the label to represent our healthy food, the palya mayi," Nuria said. 

"The project is helping people to make better food choices. I've changed my bread to the wholemeal one, not the white one. I now eat less bread and rice and I buy the no-added sugar juice, too."

In addition to the labelling system, Liz and Emma travel to Bidyadanga regularly to host cooking demonstrations using recipes developed specifically for the community.

All of the ingredients used in the classes are readily available for purchase in the store, giving the community the opportunity to try new and easy ways of preparing healthy tucker for their families that don't require fancy foods or complicated equipment.

The Palya Mayi label depicts the community's totem, the emu, and was designed by local artist Nuria Jadai (right).


"We set-up the demonstration on a table at the front of the store, so it's pretty much whatever you can cook in an electric frying pan!" Liz explained.

"No two days are the same - people drop in when they can to check out what we're doing and help with the cooking. It's great to see everyone getting involved in the process and enjoying trying something new - especially the kids.

"We also bring with us a number of LiveLighter recipe books that I have on display during the demonstrations. They're free and full of great meals ideas that are easy to make; most people end up taking them home, which is great."

According to Bidyadanga resident Noraini Haji-Noor, the Palya Mayi Project has prompted the community to rethink their food choices.

"I've seen a lot of difference at the shop with the label. People are choosing the healthy choice more and more every day," Noraini said.

Nuria's mother, Madelaine Jadai, has also seen the positive impact the project has made.

"The cooking classes are really good. People get to try new things that they haven't had before. It's good stuff, this Palya Mayi. People need this," she said.

As part of the project, special workshops have also been run with local ranger and women's groups.

Thanks to a Health Promotions Grant from Healthway, the Palya Mayi Project will be extended further in the coming year with plans to implement the label into the local school and swimming pool canteens as well.


This story was featured in our 2016 - 2017 Annual Review. To read more about our achievements over the past year and the inspiring people that have helped us along the way check out Annual Review here.

Found in:  News - 2017  | View all news