Uniquely Australian Foods helps celebrate 125 years at Hermitage Research Facility

Uniquely Australian Foods helps celebrate 125 years at Hermitage Research Facility

Posted by Sophie Ader

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Hermitage Research Facility, based just outside of Warwick, celebrated it’s 125th year yesterday, in a wonderful celebration of memories from the past and visions towards the future, complete with an unveiling of a beautiful mosaic, coordinated by the Hermitage Research Centre Leader, Dr Barbara George-Jaeggli.

Uniquely Australian Foods has a partnership with the Hermitage Research Facility through supporting and providing activities and content for their Schools Plant Science Competition this year. The ARC Training Centre for Uniquely Australian Foods designed the Native food activities for the competition, asking students to complete the following:

a) ‘Flavour Wheel’: Identify and describe the aroma and flavours of native foods using an Australian Native Flavour Wheel and/or

b) ‘Tuck into Bush Tucker’: Develop a recipe using traditional bush tucker foods/ingredients and prepare, cook, taste! The Crawford Fund, who the ARC Centre is a member of, contributed to the Global Food Security Investigation, asking students to investigate the science behind using native plants from across the world for food production.

Dr Sandra Olarte Mantilla setting up the ARC Uniquely Australian Foods’ display for the day

Dr Sandra Olarte Mantilla and Sophie Ader represented the ARC centre at this event, setting up a display stand and talking to a wide range of very interested and engaged people ranging from school students, accomplished home cooks, farmers, researchers and commercial seed sellers amongst others. We shared what we do in the centre, swapped recipes and uses of various Australian native ingredients, and had conversations about potential training opportunities for students and school leavers.

Several dignitaries gave speeches, including Mark Furner, the Honorable Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities,  Councillor Vic Pennisi, the Mayor of Warwick, and our very own QAAFI Director Matthew Morrell.

QAAFI Director Matthew Morrell with Honourable Minister Mark Turner

A number of speakers with long histories with the Hermitage research station also spoke about their memories of projects and time, all of which have had a huge impact on wheat and sorghum growers in Australia and around the world.

Dr Barbara George-Jaeggli, Dr Sandra Olarte Mantilla and Sophie Ader standing next to the newly commissioned mosaic artworks, representing the research and community engagement done at the Hermitage Research Centre.

Beautiful mosaic artworks which were created in partnership with community and researchers were unveiled to commemorate this momentous occasion, and a delicious lunch celebrating First Nations foods was offered, by Indigenous business ‘Cicada Woman’. Attendees enjoyed delicious Bunya Nut soup, Warrigal Greens soup, followed by Davidson plum and wattle seed icecreams, along with sandwiches.

A local Indigenous catering company offering native foods for lunch

The day was a delight, a real success thanks to the efforts of Dr Barbara, Kerrie Rubie and all the team at the Hermitage Research Centre, and as a bonus, it was really wonderful and uplifting to see how engaged and interested people are in Australian Native foods. The Uniquely Australian team will return to the Hermitage Research Facility for the announcement and celebration of the school competition’s winners in August this year.

Leave a Reply