Compiling Australia’s first database of native foods. In just two years we have have profiled 1550 ingredients for their nutritional properties, studied their toxicity and identified potential uses.
We know it sounds crazy, but this database is the first of this size in the world. So, we’re proud to have now produced a comprehensive database of Indigenous Australian foods. This will enable commercial production of ingredients and create new food-based enterprises for Indigenous communities.
Right now, over 1550 ingredients have been recorded with a wide range of information, including bioactive analysis, sensory notes, culinary uses, and geographical locations. What’s more, where information is sensitive to a particular Indigenous tribe or has secret medicinal attributes, this data will be protected.
To access such information, people will have to seek permission of the Elders of that tribe. We are taking this aspect very seriously and hope our approach will provide a model for other countries to follow, in order to respect sensitive Indigenous knowledge and intellectual property.
A sophisticated and user-friendly interface is currently being built ensuring the safeguards are in place to protect the Indigenous culture and intellectual property rights. This work has been led by Professor Michelle Waycott, the South Australia’s Chief Botanist and Head of South Australia’s Herbarium, as part of our partnership agreement with the University of Adelaide. We are currently in negotiations for a suitable platform on which the website will sit and be supported.
The next step for is to put the knowledge and findings from the Indigenous Food Database into action. Building the connections between Indigenous communities who are surrounded by the native ingredients, and the commercial enterprises who would want to use them for gastronomy, cosmetics, skincare, wellness products and much more.
It’s a really exciting time.