Rank #1: Is it really organic?
In this episode Zen speaks to one of the founders of the first organic industry association in Australia, Tim Marshall.
Tim is on the board of the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA) which provides organic certification services.Certifying organic produce in Australia is well thought-out and planned, he describes that each step and process is verified right from the land all the way to when it reaches the consumer.
So how can we be sure that what we are buying at the supermarket isn’t just regular produce? Tim explains that even differences in the packaging of the food can make it obvious.
For the future of the industry, Tim says biodegradable packaging and transparent labelling is a must for consumers to have confidence when purchasing genuine organic produce.
Australia is fortunate to have NASAA in ensuring ethical farming goes into creating our produce and caring for our land.
Jan 11 2021
Rank #2: You gotta have dirty fingernails, says Jane Edmanson
Jane Edmanson is known for her unique ability to be able to relate to people of all ages and backgrounds, not just those who understand gardening at an elite level.Jane’s grounded views that a daily dose of gardening is an antidote for the toxic side effects of our busy lives that include our continuous focus on technology.
Jane shares stories with Zen, ranging from her television involvement as a well-known Australian horticulturalist, all the way to her love of worms and the life they bring to your soil.
For her, there is great pleasure in holding a handful of worms and watching baby worms develop.
Dec 14 2020
Rank #3: Zen talks apples with Andrew from Willie Smith's Orchard
Andrew Smith, from Willie Smiths in the Huon Valley shares the incredible journey that his family and their apple orchard has been on.
The story stretches back to begin 4 generations ago, when Andrew’s great-grandfather married Elsie whose father had gifted her an apple orchard. The orchard was passed down through generations, with each person adding their own flair and farming values to the apple production process.
Now, 4 generations later, Andrew is passionate about organic produce. His method is altruistic in a way; they choose not to use pesticides and herbicides for the health of their produce, their customers and Mother Nature.
Andrew’s orchard makes organic apple cider that is sold all over Australia, using the intensive planting and organic growing techniques he has learned on his many adventures around the world. It’s low in sulphur and preservatives, as Andrew strives to put the integrity of growing real, healthy produce first.
From humble beginnings as a start up apple orchard, to battling through the demise of the apple growing industry, Andrew Smith has used strength and innovation to become a widely known and successful producer of organic apple products.
Nov 17 2020
Rank #4: Humans & plants need time and space to grow too
He talks through his personal connection to the land, beginning the episode with his own beautiful Acknowledgment of Country. He created his own as a way to really connect to the Country that he and his team live and work upon, and shared these words with the What’s Growing On Podcast.
Brendan has travelled all over Country to skill share and engage communities in gardening.
As an Aboriginal himself, he works with Aboriginal communities to upskill them in being more sustainable and self-sufficient in their food growth.
Brendan has also worked in high schools, re-engaging young Indigenous students who have stopped coming to school through gardening projects on campus.
He talks of a time when he used plants to allow the students to reflect back on themselves:
“Just like plants, sometimes humans need space and time to grow.”
Brendan’s personal connection to Country has allowed him to develop and share important knowledge about the natural world around him, enabling him to upskill communities and individuals to be more sustainable, self-sufficient and connected to the land.
Nov 09 2020
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Rank #5: Soil health "Is Everything"
The word biodynamic might sound very technical, but really it describes the beautiful relationship between life and the earth.
Richard explains to Zen that bio means life and dynamic means interaction. So when he talks about biodynamic soil, he’s talking about the interaction of all life within ecosystems.
He advocates for the use of biodynamic soil because it enhances food quality, reduces carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and most of all, uses a holistic approach.
Richard’s philosophy is all about connections and understanding the complexity of natural systems.
He shares his beliefs, challenges commercial norms and brings his ideas for a more benevolent and sustainable future to the world.
Nov 01 2020
Rank #6: Australian Indigenous "Garden classrooms" for the youth
He grew up surrounded by his parents' big veggie gardens with the bush just across the road, he grew up with the land around him and learned to understand it.
Because of this, Peter is passionate about bringing nature to everybody. The Youth Community Greening Program makes gardening inclusive for young people from all walks of life.
Bush Tucker Gardens teach young people about Indigenous culture, showing how people have lived in unison with the land for thousands of years.
Sensory gardens open up the senses so it’s not just about what you see, it’s about how you feel. The Program also runs a project for young people in the youth justice system, helping them create opportunity for themselves through gardening.
Peter doesn’t think that your life experience should determine how you connect with nature. Through hard work and passion he has brought a culture of gardening to young people across Australia, creating welcoming spaces for all.
Oct 26 2020
Rank #7: Cissa Goncalves - The healing capabilities of food
Cissa is passionate about Ayurveda (traditional Hindu system of medicine) & the healing capabilities of food.
She talks about how nature gifts us with nourishment each season, why fruits and vegetables grow best at different times of the year and why we should pay attention to that.
The garden gives us all kinds of invitations.
It invites us into its flow, each season we can feel and experience different emotions. Different types of foods come with different healing purposes.
For Cissa, it’s all connected. Not only the garden that she spends time growing, but the connection between our bodies, the elements and the earth.
Cissa shares her knowledge about the healing powers of nature showing us how the vitality of the garden can allow us to be present, and have those very important (but often forgotten) moments of rest and reflection.
Oct 19 2020
Rank #8: Discover globally, values of edible plants - Food Plants International
Both Bruce and Deb were born and raised in Tasmania, and had their worlds changed and minds opened when they went to live and work in Papua New Guinea.
Bruce saw that many locals were suffering from disease and malnutrition, because they didn’t have access to the right foods or the information to identify them.
Bruce saw that the knowledge was held by the older generations, and knew that he could assist them to pass the knowledge on.
55 years later, Food Plants International is the world’s largest database of edible foods across the globe.
The information provides people the opportunity to get the most nourishment from the plants that grow around them, and has made a difference to the three billion people who struggle to find nutritious food everyday.
Sep 04 2020
Rank #9: 59 Minutes with Costa Georgiadis
We had the pleasure of talking with Costa who has a very holistic view on landcare, it’s not just about gardening, it’s about everything.
Costa Georgiadis has been on the long-running national gardening TV show Gardening Australia for 8 years. He’s a landscape architect, an environmental educator and a person who is filled with passion.
Costa’s motivation and drive comes from his belief in the power of gardening to help us connect, to help us learn, and to help us grow. Everything is connected, the plants, the insects, the season, the water, the soil, the climate, the culture.
One of Costa’s favourite words to use was ‘community’.“The community is what the community is.”And what the community can be, can be shaped by the actions of an individual; like John, our What’s Growing on Podcast co-host who started a now thriving community garden on his street with a single pallet. Gardening can really bring people together, to share and to learn.
There is so much nuance in the world, and for Costa, landcare is something that can transcend any boundaries. A free-thinker, and inspiring leader, an advocate for the special practice of gardening. Costa believes that it is better to travel well than to arrive, and we feel very lucky that we were able to share a small part of his journey.
Costa’s socials:Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/costasworld/?hl=enFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/CostasWorld/
Jul 22 2020
Rank #10: Farm it Forward: Your Land, Their Hands
Zen and John talk to Olive and Manu from Farm it Forward, a not-for-profit collective focussed on building connection between people and their land.
Seeing that there was a need in their community (Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia) not only for gardening support, but for connection with one’s land and the community sparked the idea for Farm it Forward.
The team brings together people who have land and people who are passionate about growing food regeneratively, to grow produce together and provide for the community.
It’s so much more than just creating market gardens, Farm it Forward create nourishing spaces for the residents they work with.
For Manu and Olive it’s all about community sufficiency, they want to build resilient, interdependent communities.This year, facing drought, bush fires and floods, Farm it Forward produced over 800kg of produce for their community!
Farm it Forward has really shown us the power of collective energy and input and the power of what communities can do together.
Jul 08 2020