Science for First Nations food sovereignty

Cosmos Magazine


Cosmos is a quarterly science magazine. We aim to inspire curiosity in ‘The Science of Everything’ and make the world of science accessible to everyone.

By Cosmos

There’s a growing appetite for native plant foods in Australia, but only a small proportion of financial benefit from bringing traditional foods to market flows back to Traditional Owners. In this episode of Cosmos Briefing, we speak to Luke Williams about how his research in food toxicology and food safety is supporting First Nations food sovereignty.

Luke is a proud descendant of the Gumbaynggirr people of northern NSW. He is currently completing his PhD at RMIT University, working on a project assessing the dietary safety of a range of native Australian foods, including traditional Aboriginal foods. He is also exploring how food regulatory frameworks can better accommodate the traditional knowledge held by First Nations people into the overall risk assessment of traditional food products that are being developed for commercial markets.

As part of his PhD research, Luke is actively bringing together the research sector and the national food regulatory body, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) with a range of First Nations stakeholders. The ultimate goal of Luke’s research is to facilitate First Nations food sovereignty through an Indigenous-led native foods industry.

Want to learn more about Aboriginal food knowledge?

Check out our Cosmos Briefing on Nature, food and kinship: how Indigenous foods and knowledge can create climate-resilient communities.

Or read more about the crops being grown at Black Duck Foods in our article on Bruce Pascoe’s long lesson for better land use.

Prefer science in your ears rather than in your eyes? Listen to our interview with Luke as a podcast instead.

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