In September 2017, Bruce French and his adult children returned to Papua New Guinea to acknowledge the legacy created by the brave agricultural students that helped begin the work of Food Plants International.
Bruce Reginald French, was an agricultural lecturer at the Vudal Agricultural College (now University of Natural Resources & the Environment) in 1974-75. Early in the role as a lecturer, previous students returned and courageously informed Bruce that the course did not adequately cover the plants and agricultural techniques relevant to Papua New Guinea. This was a challenge and required a steep learning curve for Bruce, since he had studied temperate agriculture and the course content was established with this focus. Never the less, Bruce worked with the students and re-wrote the curriculum, and included the wisdom and knowledge of the older local community members.
Through this process, Bruce’s eyes were opened to the wonderful food plant resources that God had provided in every village in PNG. He recorded and researched each plant – including the pests and diseases, agricultural methods and nutritional content. In Malnutrition could be addressed by eating the diversity of nutritious plants that already grow in each place.
On returning to Australia, Bruce continued to diligently research and record every edible plant that grows in each country and ecological zone around the world. He now has the largest information system on food plants in the world with over 29 600 food plants.
Food Plants International now partners with community organisations and individuals to encourage people to grow the right food plants in the right places to provide the right nutrition.
Professor John Warren, Vice Chancellor.