The Crawford Fund Award, Tasmania: Bruce R French AO

April 6, 2023

Bruce French AO receiving the inaugural Crawford Fund Award: Tasmania from Her Excellency The Hon Barbara Baker AC, Governor of Tasmania, and Crawford Fund Tasmania Chair Richard Warner (left).

As part of our Doing Well by Doing Good Campaign, on tour across the country, last week our Tasmanian Committee hosted Tasmania: Doing Well by Doing Good: The Benefits and Impacts of International Agricultural Research at Government House, which certainly impressed the crowd even before proceedings were underway.

The event was a fantastic celebration of the benefits to developing countries, Australia, Tasmania and our researchers from international agricultural research for development, and a look at the opportunities ahead.

Her Excellency The Hon Barbara Baker AC, Governor of Tasmania opened the event and joined the Crawford Fund Tasmania Chair Dick Warner in presenting the inaugural Crawford Fund Award: Tasmania to Bruce R. French AO who attended the event with family members.

“Bruce has dedicated his life to collecting and distributing information about edible plants. His work has made a practical difference in improving food security, nutrition and health outcomes for people in developing countries,” said Dick.

The award citation reads:
In recognition of Bruce’s work in reducing malnutrition across the world by his extraordinary achievement in identifying and cataloguing over 33,500 food plants that are most appropriate to meet the nutritional needs of the local people.

(l-r) Crawford Fund Tasmania Chair Richard Warner, Her Excellency The Hon Barbara Baker AC, Governor of Tasmania, Bruce French AO and Dr Colin Chartres, CEO, Crawford Fund.

In 1999, Bruce founded Food Plants International, with the goal of documenting edible plants around the world. There are now more than 33,500 species detailed on its website.

Food Plants International’s origins go back to the 1970s when Bruce was living in Papua New Guinea. He noticed many villagers suffering from disease and malnutrition, often while surrounded by nutritious edible plants. From that moment, Bruce went on a mission to document the many species in Papua New Guinea. That effort soon expanded to include plants all around the world. 

Food Plants International teamed up with Rotary Tasmania in 2007 and other organisations to create the Food Plant Solutions project. The project aims to provide regions with information on how to grow the most nutritious and viable food plants for their particular environment.

Bruce was Senior Tasmanian Australian of the Year 2022.

Our sincere congratulations to Bruce!