Traditional Knowledge connects with Western Science in a week of shared learning and yarns’

Traditional Knowledge connects with Western Science in a week of shared learning and yarns’

Posted by Sophie Ader

Thanks to the Crawford Scholarship Fund, the Uniquely Australian Foods centre welcomed three special Indigenous guests as scholars for a week of connecting over shared passions and knowledge in native plants.

Peter Green, Senior Programs officer for Indigenous Land and Sea ranger program; Shannon Bauwens, Indigenous Ranger from Bunya Peoples Aboriginal Corporation and Linc Walker, Managing Director and Cultural Consultant with Kuku Yalanji  travelled from north QLD and remote SEQ for a week of learning with researchers, staff and Indigenous partners in the UAF Centre.

Two scholars bought unique native plants from their regions in to run through a few small scale tests as part of the education process, to learn about the different possibilities and processes that form part of collaborative projects with research partners of the centre.

Linc Walker, Shannon Bauwens and Peter Green in the labs

Day 1 saw the scholars get their lab coats on, start learning about freeze drying, testing for moisture content and learning about food safety essentials, thanks to Dr Eshetu Bobasa, Dr Adiamo Oladipupo and Dr Maral Seidi Damyeh. They also got to learn about the Kakadu plum drink being developed in the centre, thanks to PhD Candidate Jess Cartwright

Dr Eshetu Bobasa, Peter Green, Linc Walker, Shannon Bauwens and Dr Adiamo Oladipupo

Day 2 started with Associate Professor Heather Smyth running a ‘Sensory Essentials’ workshop, where scholars learnt about the science behind flavours, textures and aromas, and the links between memories, noses, tongues and how people experience food. Over lunch they met Dr Jaqueline Mouray-Nadolny, who spoke abut her PhD project in Bunya nuts.

The afternoon was run again thanks to Drs Maral, Eshetu and Adiamo, and focussed on milling, Vitamin C analysis, cell culture and more.

At Native Oz Bushfoods with Tracey Goebel, PhD Candidate Sherrie Bruce, Shannon Bauwens, Peter Green and Linc Walker, all tasting some of the native produce

Smoking ceremony to be welcomed onto Native Oz’s site

Day 3 started with the last day in the labs, where scholars learnt about fat, ash and protein analysis of the samples they bought down, with the afternoon focussed on PhD Candidate James Yu Jun Lian’s honey project, meeting Oran from Roogenic to learn about partnering with non-indigenous enterprises, learning about Intellectual property and traditional knowledge protection from Dr Kamalesh Adhikary and market insights from PhD Candidate Clare Wijngaarden.

Day 4, the last day, was all focussed on site visits so the scholars could see different examples of how different Indigenous businesses are doing things. First, a trip out to Native Oz Bushfoods, where a tour was followed by a delicious lunch and a yarn about all things  native botanical industry; then a visit out to Nyanda Cultural Tours to continue discussions about challenges and opportunities for indigenous businesses in native botanicals and related industries.

Positive feedback was received by the scholars, with Peter Green writing:

“I just wanted to say a massive thank you for the incredible week we’ve had! Seriously, it’s been amazing. I know I’m speaking for all of us when I say that this past week has been eye-opening. We got to see first-hand the awesome facilities your university has to offer. And let me tell you, it’s got us thinking about so many cool opportunities to make a positive impact on our community and our mob. I’m genuinely excited about what the future holds and the partnership we’re building between our groups.”

We all hope this is the start of a longer relationship, where UQ is able to continue to support Indigenous enterprise growth through quality testing and product development services.

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