Food Innovation Plants

Native food on its way to you

a few steps closer to changing the way we grow and eat in Australia

It’s been a year since we’ve thrown ourselves into rebooting the native foods industry at the University of Adelaide and I’m proud to say there’s some great progress being made.

Philip Clarke from our project partner, the South Australian Museum, has already compiled a list of over 1000 native food plants and records of their usage, which will form the basis of an online native foods database.

Lemon myrtle (Backhousia citriodora), image SA Native Foods Association website

The database will not only serve to collate known records of food usage, but will bring together information on the nutrient profile, culinary preparation and best horticultural practices for these products. It will be the key to underpinning the development of a consistent and dependable large-scale supply of native food products.

Scientists from the university and chefs from Restaurant Orana, including owner Jock Zonfrillo, have also started their joint experimentations to investigate the chemistry and preparations of native foods. The aim is to make these foods more palatable and accessible to consumers.

We also congratulate Jock, founder of the project coordinating organisation The Orana Foundation, who was awarded The Basque Culinary World Prize for improving society through gastronomy, for his work with communities from whom he sources native ingredients.

orana-university-adelaide-partnership-native-australian-adelaide-review-800x567 Chef and Founder of the Orana Foundation Jock Zonfrillo and Prof Andy Lowe at Orana in Adelaide SA July 2017


There’s still plenty of work to be done in our quest to bring native foods into Australian households, but the foundations are being laid with a great collective committed to building a robust native food industry.

Prof Andy Lowe is a British-Australian scientist and expert on plants and trees, particularly the monitoring, management and utilisation of genetic, biological and ecosystem resources. He has discovered new species, lost forests, championed to eliminate illegally logged timber in global supply chains, served the UN’s Office of Drugs and Crime and has been responsible for securing multi-million dollar research funding. He is an experienced and respected executive leader, as well as mid-career mentor. Andy is the inaugural Director of Food Innovation at the University of Adelaide serving as the external face for all significant food industry and government sectors across South Australia, and the world.

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