On Day Four of foodpro, CSIRO’s Dr Cheryl Taylor took to the Smart Food Lounge to explore the blending of western science and Indigenous ecological knowledge, looking at how Indigenous businesses are achieving success with native foods, ingredients, flavours and scents.
In her work, Taylor has a commitment to blending science innovation with tangible outcomes, especially for Indigenous communities. Based at CSIRO’s Werribee site near Melbourne, she has spent the past decade supporting Indigenous food sovereignty.
Taylor defined native foods; specifically in Australia as ‘foods that were here first’; eaten and still eaten by First Nations people.
Taylor adds that now finally the rest of Australia and beyond are starting to eat native foods too.
Taylor shared the story of Black Duck Foods, an Indigenous social enterprise committed to Indigenous food systems and care for Country.
Currently, only a handful of these native foods are being commercially produced, and the industry is worth $20 million annually. However, despite being good for the economy, most native food profits are going to non-Indigenous businesses.
Taylor said the lack of representation displayed here was about more than just money.
For Indigenous Australians, the native foods of their regions form a key part of connection to Country, and knowledge that is tied to each food from each Country is something that has been passed down for centuries.
A core value of Black Duck Foods is Indigenous led research, and the enterprise aims to identify what systems, processes and methods can be implemented today, while inspiring the broader Australian community to value the knowledge and reform practices across Australia; overall, Black Duck Foods is making waves in a space in the industry that Taylor says to watch.