The Orana Foundation has worked with The University of Adelaide to launch the Indigenous Food Database, which features 1,443 ingredients, compiled together for the first time.
The database is sourced from published literature on Indigenous uses, specific scientific knowledge, and species bioclimatic envelope information that have been presented as maps on where to find the ingredients in Australia.
The Orana Foundation commissioned The University of Adelaide as its research partner to deliver on four projects – the Indigenous Food Database, Food Quality Assessment, Food Flavour Assessment and Plant Production Assessment.
The Orana Foundation founder Jock Zonfrillo said: “Indigenous knowledge is being taken out of their hands and grown overseas with no benefit or acknowledgement flowing back to them. We have seen this time and time again from sandalwood to wattleseed.
“By documenting their traditional knowledge in this way, we are putting a stake in the ground saying that’s not ok, that Indigenous food is not simply a transaction.”
“It has always been our intention for Indigenous people to decide where to from here with the database. It could be a time capsule for traditional knowledge, it could be used by schools for education, it could be commercialised. Whatever the future of the database is, it will be decided by Indigenous people in a time and manner that they wish.”
The findings from the database are now with the Indigenous intellectual property (IP) lawyers in Australia, Dr Terri Janke and Company, to ensure ethical research obligationsare met and Indigenous cultural and IP protocols have been followed.
“After Dr Janke’s work is complete, the database will be handed over to an Indigenous entity which will be the custodian of the database moving forward,” the foundation said.