In our next interview series, we're honoured to chat to the wonderful participants in our Charles Sturt Indigenous Entrepreneur Program about their ideas, the work they're doing and the future of First Nations representation in food and agriculture. We're privileged to support them over the course of the four month program, and we can't wait to keep you updated on their journey.
Introducing Jackie Price of Yield Lot 7!
Jackie is the business owner of Yield Lot 7, a mixed business and allotment with a range of purposes - beekeeping, cheese making, hosting workshops locally and their current venture: supplying native freshwater crayfish and repurposing shellfish waste to develop and create new products. Their "Relax with a Cherax" products will be ready to eat, gourmet, sweet crayfish lovingly paired with Australian Native Botanicals. These products take advantage of by-products that would normally go to waste in the commercial Cherax Destructor production industry.
Food Futures: Hi Jackie! Can you tell us about Yield Lot 7 and how you came up with your idea?
Jackie: Yield Lot 7 is our 22-acre allotment. We've been stocking our dams with yabbies to reintroduce them into the environment. Adding yabbies to the dam brought freshwater clams and we watched a whole ecosystem bloom - we didn't know and quickly learned that a whole freshwater ecosystem can be built around the yabby! It muddies up the water and digs down to bring clams and shellfish to the surface.
Food Futures: So this realisation was the catalyst for the work you're aiming to do today?
Jackie: Yes. We knew that there was an astronomical amount of waste with shellfish - the boiling water that is used to cook them, the leftover shells etc - so we questioned how to build on this by-product if there was already an industry out there that we didn't know about. We found that the shells could be turned into fermented fish oils; yabby oils - which is happening on a very small scale because nobody knows about it. We started to wonder whether there is much demand for these foods, so we went to the Sydney Fish Market and the Australian Fish Market and discovered that they're mostly sent overseas. We asked them what they do with the waste too (for example, they can't put the leftover water down the drain and need to pay to have it removed) - and we realised that if they're already paying for it to be removed, we could make products with it instead like native fish stock.
There's 3 different kinds of Cheraxes - not just the yabby - from all over Australia (NSW, QLD and WA) and we want to create a shelf-stable product with the different Cheraxes to start with, something a bit different that you might put on a cheeseboard - like a yabby pâté.
Food Futures: And where did the name 'Yield Lot 7' come from?
Jackie: Yield is an Aboriginal term that means 'to hold space for a different idea'. It also means 'to produce or make something different' - my family used to always like saying 'yield' meaning yield to a different idea. And Lot 7 is actually our allotment. We used to have a cooking school and would say that 'a lot can be done in seven days' so we chose to call it 'Lot 7'.
Food Futures: What are some of the long term goals that you have for your idea or business?
Jackie: Long term, I'd like to see all of our native fish used with education about the fish to go alongside it and ideas for pairings about what would have originally been eaten with it. By the end of the program, I'd like to see Yield Lot 7 existing as an online marketplace to sell these products along with a focus on education about the history of the food people are buying from us and where it's from.
Food Futures: What are your hopes for the future of First Nations representation in the context of Yield Lot 7?
Jackie: We really want to see some contract harvesting happening at Yield Lot 7 - we'd love people to approach us and ask us to grow an acre of Warrigal Greens that they can sell in their produce farms or market gardens for example. With the size of our allotment, we have potential to do up to sixteen different crops in one year - I'd like to see First Nations farmers get the opportunity to do this.
The Land Council also give out seedlings to create microclimates between farms - I'd like to incorporate some additional Bush Foods into these seedling options and microclimates, so that we're putting them back into the environment and feeding the animals in the area. A lot of people also talk about foraging - but if we're not putting the plants back into the environment, it's possible that we're over-foraging and putting back what we took away.
Stay tuned for our upcoming interviews with the Charles Sturt Indigenous Entrepreneur Program participants and subscribe to our newsletter to keep updated on all things Food Futures Company.