Led by Indigenous people, the first Australian bushfoods and botanicals conference will be held on 4th – 5th October in Alice Springs this year.
The conference, ‘At the Table: Survive, Revive, Thrive’, will be held by the First Nations Bushfood & Botanical Alliance Australia (FNBBAA), and will encourage sustainable development of the industry whilst maintaining the relationship between products and their cultural traditions.
It aims to bring together Indigenous people involved in bushfoods and botanicals from across the nation alongside academics, legal professionals, cooks, chefs and people working in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
The two-day meeting is open to the general public, with bushfood available for tasting. Bushfood will also be highlighted at the fundraising ‘Dining With the Stars’ dinner, where chefs from every state and territory will cook a course.
Dale Chapman, a Kooma, Yuwaalaraay elder and FNBBAA deputy chairperson of First said, “We bring together Indigenous people involved in the industry and welcome non-Indigenous allies to support Indigenous-led businesses to ensure the ancient laws and practices of bushfoods and medicines, that have been here in Australia for the millennia before colonisation, are protected.
“For it is up to Indigenous Australians to generate knowledge, information, and access so everyone can enjoy, use and appreciate – even have a love affair with – bushfoods and botanicals.”
The event will host a series of workshops on culture and intellectual property, establishment of geographic indicators for Australian Native foods, food standards and trade compliance, innovations and opportunities, healing plants for the wellness industry, and bushfood and botanicals business case studies.
Speakers at the conference include Terri Janke, an Indigenous lawyer of Wuthathi/Meriam heritage and an international authority on Indigenous cultural and intellectual property; Darren Godwell from i2i Global, an Indigenous advisory supporting business; and Dr Vandana Shive, a world-renowned environmental leader.
FNBBAA chair Rayleen Brown will also share her experience of using wild harvested bush tucker sourced directly from women to support livelihoods. Indigenous author Bruce Pascoe will host a joint presentation with chef Ben Shewry from Melbourne’s Attica restaurant.