Passionate advocate for Australian food biodiversity and Slow Food Ark Commissioner, Emeritus Professor Robert MacLennan passes away...
Long-standing member of Slow Food's Ark Commission, ex Chair of the Australian Ark Commission and passionate campaigner for food biodiversity, Emeritus Professor Robert (Bob) MacLennan died this past weekend.
Bob will be dearly missed. He has been a member of the Australian Ark Commission and held the position of Chair from 2008-2010. Emeritus Professor of Queensland University, Bob was a cancer epidemiologist with interests in culture and disease, especially food patterns and preparation. The Public Health Association Australia made him a Life Member in recognition of his commitment.
One of Bob's greatest passions was for upholding Australia's food biodiversity. "Bob's enthusiasm for food mapping was infectious," said Australia's international Slow Food councilor Amorelle Dempster. "His enthusiasm for the protection of biodiversity and his insistence for it to be mapped was his single message. We will miss him dearly, and continue to promote the important ideas he pioneered as Slow Food in Australia moves forward."
Bob's foresight into understanding local foods and the importance of protecting food biodiversity brought about a pilot study in 2009, which identified food species, varieties and products in Queensland. It has been fundamental for discussions currently taking place in Australia with regard to the future Food Mapping project that will be instrumental to Slow Food defending biodiversity and championing food sovereignty in Australia.
Bob's extensive work in Papua New Guinea and with Aboriginal communities made him aware of the importance that food mapping must include the cultural context of food, and that there was a need to identify food traditions so that they could be renewed in the future.