Q: What do a researcher of sea kelp on the South Coast of NSW, an expert on preventing the rise and risk of extremism, a disability advocate and a local government Councillor have in common? A: They are just four of the 112 innovative and inspired thinkers recognised with a 2018 Churchill Fellowship.
This week we learnt that Joanne Lane, of Central Tilba, has won a prestigious Churchill Fellowship enabling her to further research the kelp industry. The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust has awarded $3.1 million worth of Churchill Fellowships to 112 Australians in 2018. The Fellowships address challenges Australia is facing right now by recognising experts across fields from education to arts, emergency services to health, and agriculture to sport.Fellows are funded to travel internationally, to gather insights and knowledge that will benefit Australia. One hundred and twelve inspired Australians including Joanne will travel throughout the world in 2019 as recipients of the prestigious Churchill Fellowship, offering them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit other countries and investigate inspiring practices that will benefit Australian communities. The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust was established in 1965 to honour the memory of Sir Winston Churchill, and fulfil his wish for people from all walks of life to travel the world to gain new knowledge and share ideas and insights. Fellowships are awarded to everyday Australians who are passionate about challenging the status quo to create or make a positive impact on our society. “Being recognised as a Churchill Fellow is a celebration of curiosity, they are ordinary Australians withextraordinary abilities and aspirations,” said CEO of the Churchill Trust, Mr Adam Davey. “The Churchill Fellowship recognises new ideas. It is a celebration of expertise, innovation, expanding knowledge and creating new and better ways of addressing issues that matter in Australia right now. “It is 53 years since the first Churchill Fellowships were awarded in honour of Sir Winston, however the projects that will be aided by his legacy are still, as he intended, firmly focussed on the future. “While the award we offer may be steeped in history, we are proud that it still remains extraordinarily relevant. “Churchill Fellows are up for a challenge, they are people who can foresee an opportunity, know how to address it and will use this experience to work with and learn from their international peers and some outstanding thought leaders. “Each and every one of the 112 Churchill Fellows will return to Australia inspired with the practical knowledge and experience needed to advance their projects and embed new opportunities in Australia.” Already well known throughout the region for her passion for kelp and the Joanne Lane told The Beagle: "My Churchill Fellowship is to investigate kelp- farming operations overseas and bring that information back to Australia. I will travel to USA, Canada, Norway, Scotland and Ireland to meet with kelp farmers, scientists and small business owners like me. This is an incredible opportunity made possible by the generous support of the Yulgilbar Foundation, which supports Churchill projects with a regional and environmental focus."
"I am a marine biologist and completed my studies at Macquarie University, Sydney. I moved to the south coast in 2002 and one of my jobs was working for NSW Fisheries, where I processed permits. The Collection of marine vegetation permit by Sea Health Products interested me – wild harvesting seaweed from beautiful south coast beaches - little did I know, that in 2015 I would in fact become the owner of this unique south coast business!
"Sea Health Products is Australia’s first seaweed business, starting in the late 1960’s by a lady called Betty Long. She knew all the health benefits of seaweed and when she returned to her fathers’ property at Glasshouse Rocks, Narooma and saw kelp in the water, she thought to herself “why can’t I eat that?” She researched appropriate methods, bought a large processing machine and away she went, feeding herself and her family on this goodness from the sea. The Australian Womens’ Weekly did a story about “the Kelp Lady” in 1970 and Betty soon received letters from all over Australia – Sea Health Products was born!
"Her son, Scott and his partner Pip, moved down to Narooma to keep the business going and when they retired and moved from the area I was fortunate enough to take over the legacy!
"The processing remains the same, early morning visits to the beach to hand select fresh kelp rolling in on the waves. The kelp is then washed thoroughly in freshwater and hung out on racks to dry in the sun before being processed into kelp granules or kelp powder.
"Kelp has so many health benefits and also is extremely versatile. It can be used in neutraceuticals, cosmetics, agricultural feed and fertiliser. As demand grows it will be difficult to rely on sustainable wild harvest.
"Kelp farming could be the answer - despite our 36,000 km of coastline and vast ocean resources, there are currently no ocean based kelp farms in Australia. Kelp farming is well established overseas and is also referred to as ‘restorative farming’. Kelp farming requires no freshwater, no land and no fertiliser or pesticides to grow. It grows 5 x faster than land plants and absorbs CO2.
"My dream is for kelp to become a pantry staple – I want to improve the health of our oceans, the health of our planet and the health of Australians.
Sea Health Products, Golden Kelp can be found locally in Grandpa’s Garden, Narooma, South Coast Cheese, Tilba, Rustic Pantry, Moruya. You can find Jo at the SAGE markets on a Tuesday or the Growers Markets in Bermagui on a Thursday to find out more have a look at the website – www.seahealthproducts.com.au