Text full multimedia monochrome

First time here?

Find out more about how The Lecture List works.

Coronavirus situation update

Our lecture organisers may or may not have had time to update their events with cancellation notices. Clearly social gatherings are to be avoided and that includes lectures. STAY AT HOME FOLKS, PLEASE.


Find out what you can do to keep The Lecture List online

Talk: Bringing the food back home indigenous foodways, nutrition and biodiversity in western Canada

Kew's Distinguished Ethnobotanist Lecture for 2009

Nancy Turner is one of the most influential (and charismatic) ethnobotanists working today. She is best known for her collaborations wth First Nations peoples of western Canada, and has published extensively on wild foods and nutrition, materials, and many other topics. This is a rare opportunity to hear her speak at a European venue.

Talk summary: Indigenous peoples of northwestern North America are identified by anthropologists mainly as fishers and hunters. Yet, their traditional food systems include many, diverse plant species, as well as some marine algae, lichens and fungi. Plant foods include roots and other underground parts, green leaves and stems, many fruits, inner bark of trees, and a range of beverage teas. These foods collectively provide essential nutrients and have been part of a healthy Indigenous diet over thousands of years. The knowledge required to use these nutritional resources effectively and sustainably is part of an overall system of knowledge that incorporates ecological understanding, taxonomic, and biogeographical expertise, specialized practices of harvesting, processing, and maintaining resource populations, and belief systems that guide their use and management. Women have been the holders and practitioners of much of this plant-based knowledge.

In recent years, for a variety of reasons, many of these important Indigenous foods have been declining in use, a dietary trend known as the nutrition transition, that is occurring with local and Indigenous Peoples' food systems worldwide. People who once gathered and prepared healthy local food are turning towards more processed and marketed foods many of which are high in unhealthy fats and refined carbohydrates. The result is increased risk of diabetes and heart disease and other health problems. Today, Indigenous communities are using a range of strategies to maintain and strengthen their use of their original foods, and have found partners in universities, NGOs, and government agencies to support this endeavor.

In this presentation, I will describe some of the diverse Indigenous wild foods of the Cascadia Region, including Angiosperms, Gymnosperms, and some Algae, Lichens and Fungi, and discuss the ways in which Indigenous Peoples have maintained and enhanced these resources, what has happened to these food species, and how they are now being reclaimed and re-incorporated into Indigenous Peoples' foodways.

Admission is free but must be prebooked using:


Prof Nancy Turner | talks | www


Date and Time:

20 October 2009 at 5:00 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Jodrell Lecture Theatre
Kew Road

Show map

Organised by:

Sustainable Uses Group
See other talks organised by Sustainable Uses Group...




Available from:

Admission is free but must be prebooked using:

Additional Information:

The Jodrell Laboratory is accessed via the Jodrell Gate on Kew Road, equidistant between Kew Bridge and Kew Gardens stations. After the talk, the audience is invited to join the speaker at The Botanist cafe on Kew Green.

Register to tell a friend about this lecture.


If you would like to comment about this lecture, please register here.


Any ad revenue is entirely reinvested into the Lecture List's operating fund