Tourism Australia Head of Indigenous Aff

Young entrepreneurs to address major food inequity 

[by Jenny Hassam]

Jessica Wishart, Jordan Wishart, and Tommy Hicks. Image: supplied

New social enterprise, Kere to Country, launches this month to address the major food inequalities faced by Aboriginal communities in Central Australia.

 

With Indigenous Australians continuing to experience poorer levels of health than non-Indigenous, young entrepreneurs, Jessica Wishart, 31, Jordan Wishart, 25, and Tommy Hicks, 24, were inspired to act after visiting Alice Springs, where they found Aboriginal communities couldn’t afford the essential products needed to keep their families healthy.

 

Kere to Country (Kere means food from animals in Arrernte), is an Aboriginal owned and led company which offers an entrepreneurial solution to the escalating issues of severe food inequity in remote areas.

 

It is estimated that 1.2 million people cannot regularly provide themselves with a culturally appropriate, safe and nutritious food supply from a non-emergency source.

 

The social enterprise will provide communities with the opportunity to buy a whole fresh beef or lamb in bulk, or in smaller packs, including camping packs and business packs for ceremony.

 

Working in partnership with Bully’s Meats, the meat will be delivered to Northern Territory communities every eight to ten weeks with refrigeration options given to extend the usability and cost-effectiveness of bulk-buying for families. Payment for the meat packs will be in the form of interest free payment plans.

 

Jessica Wishart, chief executive officer at Kere to Country believes it’s a fundamental human right to be able to access affordable services and supplies, in particular fresh, good quality and affordable meat, which leads to poorer health outcomes and in some cases malnutrition.

 

“I’m astounded by the prices our fellow Australians in Aboriginal communities are being forced to pay for basic food and meat supplies in remote community stores.

 

“Some Aboriginal families are paying over $85 for one kilogram of poor-quality mince.

 

“Our enterprise is built on providing good quality meat in a cost-effective way to our customers.

 

“As an Aboriginal run and led organisation we’re passionate about addressing food inequity. It’s not right that in 2020 communities are dealing with this issue. We’re about creating grassroots change in a positive way.

 

“We’re respectful of communities and cultural practices and want to be able to provide knock-on benefits by harnessing local knowledge and offering work opportunities as we grow.”

 

Indigenous Australians continue to experience poorer levels of health than non-Indigenous Australians and issues such as food insecurity, poor diet, and a disproportionate burden of chronic disease play a key contributing role for malnutrition in Indigenous Australians.

 

Kere to Country are currently consulting with communities and building their business plan to start selling products from January 2021. Industry partners already on board include Lawson Safety & Claims Management, Quality Assurance Management Systems and Bully’s Meat.

 

The team are looking for sponsors and partners to help launch meat distribution, with specific skills and advisory needed in operations, systems, technical expertise and logistics.

 

They are also looking for Founding Members of Kere to Country to offer a cash injection to get the project off to a flying start. Corporate sponsorship starts at $1,000 and individual sponsorship starts at $50.

 

The team are currently based in Adelaide but are moving families and operations to Alice Springs this month as they visit communities gaining expressions of interest and feedback from stores and potential customers as they move through research phase and into commercialisation.

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