Blog tagged with 'elite vegetable growing'

celebrity’s siren call

posted 20 July 2015
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Every time I think of soil scientist Robert Edis, I chuckle. I don’t think he knew what to make of his invitation to speak at a food writers’ festival, being a soil scientist and all.
 
His invitation came on the back of an interesting series he’d had published in The Conversation, a website where scholarly research is iterated in plain English, where brains work with journos to produce readable, as well as evidence-based, ethical and responsible content. Robert had written an eminently readable series on the relationship between soils and elite vegetable growing in Australia. The series, called The Good Earth, explains why durum wheat grows so well in the hypercalcic calcarosols of the Clare in SA and ginger thrives in Queensland, in Buderim’s red ferrosol soil.
 
Paul Van Reyk had put me onto these stories in his regular Compost newsletter and we thought the Food & Words audience would lap it up. And they did.
 
Robert flies into Sydney from Melbourne looking more rock muso than scientist. He looked bewildered. As insurance, he’d interspersed portraits of film stars into the visuals for his talk (you can see the thinking-woman’s-crumpet Richard Roxburgh in the pic above, but Brad Pitt also featured), which he thought would keep us going if we got bogged down.
 
He needn’t have worried. I overheard a woman say, on the way out of the room, “Who knew soil could be so sexy?”. Mission accomplished. The world of food is an endless source of stories and that’s partly what Food & Words is about, a forum for telling them.