The Indigenous Food Database is the fundamental reason why The Orana Foundation exists-to preserve Indigenous food knowledge before the Elders who hold that Traditional Knowledge and verbally pass it down through generations disappear.

There were multiple stages we needed to go through to ensure the information in the database was thorough and reputable, the Indigenous Traditional Knowledge was preserved accurately, and that Indigenous intellectual property was protected. Following these development steps we could then handover the database to an Indigenous entity who would be the custodians of the database into the future.

It has always been the Foundation’s intention that the Indigenous Food Database was the collation of information that would be handed over to Indigenous people to decide where to from here. The database could be a multitude of things-it could be a time capsule of food knowledge as verbal handing down of Traditional Knowledge to the next generation slows, it could be a working database that Community Rangers feed into, or it may be that commercialisation of Indigenous foods occurs. These are just some of the potential uses however this is not a decision to be made by The Orana Foundation, it will be made by the most suitable Indigenous entity using their skills and with community consultation. Whether the Indigenous Food Database will be publicly released or not is also a decision that will be made by this Indigenous entity at a time of their choosing.

Research Partner:


The University of Adelaide was contracted by The Orana Foundation to undertake four research projects to assist with the development of native food production, ingredients identification, horticulture and culinary practices for the benefit of remote Indigenous communities. A team of professors,
horticulturalists, anthropologists, botanists, and researchers was built to work on this project.

The four projects were:

  1. To build a native food database to collate knowledge of Australian plants (native and introduced) that have been used for food by a range of communities,
  2. To conduct food quality assessment to provide knowledge of the nutritional profile of plants,
  3. To conduct food processing and flavour assessment to improve knowledge of the specific use and preparation of plant products and derivation of specific ingredients for culinary use,
  4. To conduct plant production assessment to improve knowledge of the horticultural practices for growing specific ingredient plants and identification of superior landraces that may form the basis of improved plant varieties and better production systems.

Indigenous Food Database:


The Indigenous Food Database was handed over to The Orana Foundation in May 2020 and represents a compilation of knowledge based on existing and new information for Australian plants used by the Indigenous communities of Australia. The database is comprised of thirteen data tables which are associated primarily by taxon. Information has been compiled from published accounts for 1443 taxa, including Indigenous people’s uses of these plants and other accumulated published knowledge.

These data are supplemented by information for some 100 taxa with specific scientific knowledge, primarily from the literature, species bioclimatic envelope outputted as maps and a gastronomy evaluation. The final database represents a unique resource and has significant development potential to support the native food industry in Australia.

The database research and findings were then built into a database interface using Filemaker Pro which allowed for the relevant plug in and search fields to make this a user friendly and intuitive database.

Indigenous Culture and Intellectual Property (ICIP):


Dr Terri Janke and Company were commissioned to assist The Orana Foundation by undertaking a best practice review of the Indigenous Food Database. This includes a best practice audit in line with legal requirements, national and international standards and best practice of the content collected and collated on the database, methods of collection, publication and digitisation of that content and intended use; a preliminary audit of the database in relation to the collection, publication and digitisation of content considering intellectual property and licensing requirements, Indigenous Cultural & Intellectual Property (ICIP) and culturally sensitive material incorporated in content and associated cultural protocol, and ethical research obligations.

Once this audit is complete they will progress to consideration of the requirements for access and use to the database and specific content on the database, categorisation and labelling of content, implementation of appropriate protocols, end user licensing and commercialisation. The will also be a recommendation as to the best practice in managing the data file itself.

Following the completion of the above, Dr Terri Janke and Company will make recommendations on suitable Indigenous entities to be the custodians of the database moving forward.

Indigenous Custodians:


Once the review by Dr Terri Janke and Company has concluded and any recommendations are implemented, we will then be in a position to commence the next stage which is commissioning an independent Indigenous organisation to run the Request For Proposal process to identify the most suitable Indigenous entity to hand over the database to.

This Request For Proposal process process will use Dr Janke’s recommended entities, their own recommendations, as well as publicly posted tender documents to ensure any interested entities can be involved in the process. Part of this Indigenous organisation’s scope of works will include them determining the most suitable Indigenous entity and facilitating the handover of the Indigenous Food Database.

Database Data Fields:


Dataset–Table Field Name
P1–Taxa taxonRecordID
P1–Taxa taxonID
P1–Taxa scientificName
P1–Taxa canonicalName
P1–Taxa commonNames
P1–Taxa family
P1–Taxa distribution
P1–Taxa habit
P1–Taxa partsConsumed
P1–Taxa Trialled before
P1–Taxa Main references
P1–Taxa indigenousTermsCount
P1–Taxa indigenousUsesCount
P1–Taxa Ranking
P1–Terms taxonRecordID
P1–Terms indigenousTerms
P1–Terms languageGroup
P1–Terms languageGroupLocation
P1–Terms culturalSensitivity
P1–Terms culturalSensitivity
P1–Terms culturalSensitivityComments
P1–Terms IPRequirements
P1–Terms IPRequirementsComments
P1–Uses taxonRecordID
P1–Uses Recipes and preparation
P1–Uses Other Information
P1–Uses Source
P1–Uses culturalSensitivity TK
P1–Uses culturalSensitivity
P1–Uses culturalSensitivityComments
P1–Uses IPRequirements
P1–Uses IPRequirementsComments
Dataset–Table Field Name
P2–Nutrition Profiles taxonRecordID
P2–Nutrition Profiles taxonID
P2–Nutrition Profiles taxonUncertainty
P2–Nutrition Profiles plantPart
P2–Nutrition Profiles plantPartTeatment
P2–Nutrition Profiles dataType
P2–Nutrition Profiles dataAvail
P2–Nutrition Profiles minimum
P2–Nutrition Profiles maximum
P2–Nutrition Profiles sampleNumber
P2–Nutrition Profiles average
P2–Nutrition Profiles units
P2–Nutrition Profiles assay
P2–Nutrition Profiles nutritionaInformationComments
P2–Nutrition Profiles additionalInfoAvail
P2–Nutrition Profiles knowledgeGaps
P2–Nutrition Profiles healthBenefits
P2–Nutrition Profiles wildHarverstSustainability
P2–Nutrition Profiles comments
P2–Nutrition Profiles recordCount
P2–Nutrition Profiles sourceID
P2–Nutrition Profiles nutritionalRanking
P2–Nutrition Profiles deliciousnessRating
P2–Ethnomedicinal Use taxonRecordID
P2–Ethnomedicinal Use taxonID
P2–Ethnomedicinal Use taxonUncertainty
P2–Ethnomedicinal Use plantPart
P2–Ethnomedicinal Use ethnomedicinalUse
P2–Ethnomedicinal Use ethnomedicinalUseAustralia
P2–Ethnomedicinal Use ethnomedicinalUseElsewhere
P2–Ethnomedicinal Use comments
P2–Ethnomedicinal Use recordCount
P2–Ethnomedicinal Use SourceID
P2–Bioactive Compounds taxonRecordID
P2–Bioactive Compounds taxonID
P2–Bioactive Compounds plantPart
P2–Bioactive Compounds Bioactive Compounds Data
P2–Bioactive Compounds Essential oils
P2–Bioactive Compounds Alkane hydrocarbons
P2–Bioactive Compounds Phenolics
P2–Bioactive Compounds Flavonoids
P2–Bioactive Compounds Phenols_ Phenolic acids
P2–Bioactive Compounds Phenolic ketones
P2–Bioactive Compounds Phenyl_propanoids
P2–Bioactive Compounds Coumarins
P2–Bioactive Compounds Quinones
P2–Bioactive Compounds Lignans
P2–Bioactive Compounds Tannins
P2–Bioactive Compounds Terpenoids_Terpenes_Sterols
P2–Bioactive Compounds Monoterpenes_Monoterpenoids_C10_
P2–Bioactive Compounds Sesquiterpenes_Sesquiterpenoids_C15_
P2–Bioactive Compounds Diterpenes_Diterpenoids_C20
P2–Bioactive Compounds Triterpenes_Triterpenoids_C30_
P2–Bioactive Compounds Tetraterpenes_Tetraterpenoids_C40_
P2–Bioactive Compounds Sterols
P2–Bioactive Compounds Saponins
P2–Bioactive Compounds Fatty Acids
P2–Bioactive Compounds Alkaloids
P2–Bioactive Compounds Other nitrogen_containing compounds
P2–Bioactive Compounds Amines
P2–Bioactive Compounds Cyanogenic glycosides
P2–Bioactive Compounds Amino acids_ peptides
P2–Bioactive Compounds _Other
P2–Bioactive Compounds Bioactive Compounds_Detailed Information
P2–Bioactive Compounds Bioactive Compounds_Quantity
P2–Bioactive Compounds Demonstrated Biological Activity
P2–Bioactive Compounds Anti_oxidant
P2–Bioactive Compounds Anti_inflammatory
P2–Bioactive Compounds Anti_tumour_cancer
P2–Bioactive Compounds Anti_diabetic
P2–Bioactive Compounds Anti_hypertension
P2–Bioactive Compounds Anti_microbial
P2–Bioactive Compounds Anti_bacterial
P2–Bioactive Compounds Anti_fungal
P2–Bioactive Compounds Anti_parasitic
P2–Bioactive Compounds Anti_viral
P2–Bioactive Compounds Insecticidal
P2–Bioactive Compounds Cytotoxicity
P2–Bioactive Compounds Cytotoxic compounds
P2–Bioactive Compounds Cholesterol lowering
P2–Bioactive Compounds Other biological activities
P2–Bioactive Compounds Bioactive Compound Comments
P2–Bioactive Compounds Inferred Biological Activity
P2–Bioactive Compounds Additional Bioactive Info available _not recorded here_
P2–Bioactive Compounds Bioactive Compound Knowledge Gaps
P2–Bioactive Compounds info in congenric species
P2–Bioactive Compounds compoundedList
P2–Bioactive Compounds recordCount
P2–Bioactive Compounds SourceID
P2–Bioactive Compounds Bioactive Ranking
P2–Toxicity taxonRecordID
P2–Toxicity taxonID
P2–Toxicity taxonUncertainty
P2–Toxicity plantPart
P2–Toxicity Toxicity Data Available
P2–Toxicity Toxins detected
P2–Toxicity Toxic effect
P2–Toxicity Toxin inactivation
P2–Toxicity comments
P2–Toxicity recordCount
P2–Toxicity SourceID
P2–Functional Properties taxonRecordID
P2–Functional Properties taxonID
P2–Functional Properties taxonUncertainty
P2–Functional Properties plantPart
P2–Functional Properties Commercial Processing
P2–Functional Properties Functional Properties
P2–Functional Properties Pre_biotic
P2–Functional Properties Low Glycaemic Index
P2–Functional Properties Cholesterol lowering
P2–Functional Properties Other properties
P2–Functional Properties comments
P2–Functional Properties functionalProperty
P2–Functional Properties recordCount
P2–Functional Properties SourceID
P2–Commercial Use taxonRecordID
P2–Commercial Use taxonID
P2–Commercial Use taxonUncertainty
P2–Commercial Use Commercial Availability
P2–Commercial Use Products
P2–Commercial Use Current use
P2–Commercial Use Other potential uses
P2–Commercial Use Suppliers
P2–Commercial Use recordCount
P2–Commercial Use SourceID
Dataset–Table Field Name
P4–HorticulturalAttrib taxonRecordID
P4–HorticulturalAttrib taxonID
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Plant part
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Plant part treatment
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Similar plant_species data _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Similar plant_species
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Common cultivars _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib cultivar names
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Plant growth characteristics _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Growth habit _Trees_ shrubs…_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Life cycle _Annual_perennial_biennial_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Time to maturity _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Time to maturity _ Age of 1st flowering
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Time from planting to harvest
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Flowering information _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Flower information
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Flowering time
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Flowering information _ Pollinators _insect_ wind
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Fruit information _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Fruit information details
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Fruiting seasons
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed type data _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed type
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Embryo type data _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Embryo type
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Natural growing conditions _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Climate zone
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Regions_Habitat
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Annual Rainfall Data _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib AnualRainfall comments
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Annual Rainfall Unit
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Annual Rainfall Max
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Annual Rainfall Min
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Annual Rainfall Average min
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Annual Rainfall Average max
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Rainfall Sample size Unit
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Rainfall Sample size Value
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Temperature Data _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Temperature Unit
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Temperature Max
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Temperature Min
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Temperature Average
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Temperature Sample size Unit
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Temperature Sample size Value
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Temperature ̶ comments
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Soil data _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Soil types
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Soil conditions _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Soil pH
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Soil drainage
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Soil salinity
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Soil nutrients
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Soil waterlogging tolerance
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Soil Cation_exchange capacity
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Biotic_abiotic stress data _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Tolerant to abiotic stresses
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Resistent to biotic stresses
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Suspcetible to stresses_Diseases
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Proparation methods _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Propagation methods _ general comments
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Propagation from seed _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Propagation from seed _ General comments
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed dormancy
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed collection _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed collection _ General comments
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed collection from wild populations _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Wild Seed collection season
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Wild Seed collection _ Locations _can be State names_ more distinct?_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Wild Seed collection _ comments
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed collection _ other options
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed collection _ Seed extraction _ cleaning
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed storage _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed Storage _ General comments
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed germination _ Seed Storage Temperature _ Unit
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed germination _ Seed Storage Temperature _ Value
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed storage _ Viability Unit
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed storage _ Viability Value
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed storage _ Viability comments
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed Germination conditions _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed Germination _ Results _ Unit
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed Germination _ Results _ Value
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Time before first germinant observed _ Unit
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Time before first germinant observed _ Value
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Time to achieve 50% germination _ Unit
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Time to achieve 50% germination _ Value
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed Germination _ Thermoperiod Unit
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed Germination _ Thermoperiod Value
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed Germination _ Thermoperiod Time Unit
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed Germination _ Thermoperiod Time Value
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed Germination _ Photoperiod Unit
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed Germination _ Photoperiod Value
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed Germination _ Photoperiod Time Unit
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed Germination _ Photoperiod Time Value
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed Germination _ Medium
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed Germination _ pre_treatment
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Seed Germination _ General comments
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Propagation from seed _ Guidelines
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Other propagation methods _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Cuttings _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Cuttings _ General comments
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Grafting _yes_no
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Grafting _ General comments
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Tissue culture _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Tissue culture _ General comments
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Division _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Division _ General comments
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Cultivation data _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Planting_cultivation
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Light
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Irrigation data _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Irrigation _ General comments
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Nutrition requirements _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Nutrition requirements _ fertilisers
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Nutrition requirements _ others
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Industry _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Success of previous development trials _y_n_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Reasons for industry success
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Success of previous development trials
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Reasons for industry failure
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Production methods _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Production methods _ Plantation
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Production yields
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Production methods _ Plantation Reasons for industry success
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Production methods _ Plantation Reasons for industry failure
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Production methods _ Greenhouse
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Production methods _ Greenhouse Reasons for industry success
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Production methods _ Greenhouse Reasons for industry failure
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Production methods _ Wild harvest
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Production methods _ Wild harvest Reasons for industry success
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Production methods _ Wild harvest Reasons for industry failure
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Production methods _ Additional info
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Production methods Additional info Reasons for industry success
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Production methods Additional info Reasons for industry failure
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Harvest data _yes_no_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Time lines to first harvest
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Harvest method
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Wild Harvest Sustainability
P4–HorticulturalAttrib _flagCount
P4–HorticulturalAttrib recordCount
P4–HorticulturalAttrib sourceID
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Proj 1 Ranking
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Nutritional Ranking
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Deliciousness Rating _JZ_
P4–HorticulturalAttrib Chi’s score
Dataset–Table Field Name
Sources–Sources SourcePrimaryKey
Sources–Sources SourceID
Sources–Sources Author
Sources–Sources Year
Sources–Sources Title
Sources–Sources BriefCiteAuth
* Full set of fields in EndNote database
Dataset–Table Field Name
Images–Images taxonRecordID
Images–Images image
Images–Images thumbnail
Images–Images imageMetadata
Images–Images imageFilename
Images–Images imageContext
Images–Images imageCaption
Images–Images imageContributor
Images–Images imageLicence
Images–Images imageRank
Images–Images culturalSensitivity TK
Images–Images culturalSensitivity
Images–Images culturalSensitivityComments
Images–Images IPRequirements
Images–Images IPRequirementsComments
TK Labels
Dataset–Table Field Name
TK Labels–TK Labels name
TK Labels–TK Labels type
TK Labels–TK Labels abbreviation
TK Labels–TK Labels Label text
TK Labels–TK Labels Explain
TK Labels–TK Labels icon
Dataset–Table Field Name
Gastronomy–Scoring taxonRecordID
Gastronomy–Scoring taxonID
Gastronomy–Scoring plantPart
Gastronomy–Scoring plantPartNotes
Gastronomy–Scoring nonTaxon record
Gastronomy–Scoring preparation
Gastronomy–Scoring preparationNotes
Gastronomy–Scoring data providers
Gastronomy–Scoring colour
Gastronomy–Scoring colourNotes
Gastronomy–Scoring aromaCat
Gastronomy–Scoring aromaSubCat
Gastronomy–Scoring aromaCat2
Gastronomy–Scoring aromaSubCat2
Gastronomy–Scoring flavourPrincipal
Gastronomy–Scoring flavourBland
Gastronomy–Scoring flavourBitter
Gastronomy–Scoring flavourSalty
Gastronomy–Scoring flavourSour
Gastronomy–Scoring flavourSweet
Gastronomy–Scoring flavourUmami
Gastronomy–Scoring flavour2Pungency
Gastronomy–Scoring flavour2Astringency
Gastronomy–Scoring flavourCat
Gastronomy–Scoring flavourSubCat
Gastronomy–Scoring flavourCat2
Gastronomy–Scoring flavourSubCat2
Gastronomy–Scoring texture
Gastronomy–Scoring texture2
Gastronomy–Scoring aromaExample
Gastronomy–Scoring flavourExample
Gastronomy–Scoring basicFlavourScoreTotal