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Love our new show tune in the intro/outro? It’s talented Australian independent artist Melanie Horsnell’s song “Birds”. So proud to support this wonderful Aussie artist and have her grace the show with her wonderful words and song!
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And on this week’s show!
This week on the show we’re kicking off a food connection series, talking to farmers rural and urban, co-op founders, intuitive nutritionists, beekeepers, and homesteaders – that’s the line up coming up. Where do we start? The importance of what’s beneath our feet – THE SOIL, with author and farmer Matthew Evans, based in Tasmania, Australia. We talk about the history of soil, nutrition, why our soil became so lacking in nutrients, the importance of the microorganisms, and what we can all do to make a difference to the health of soil and thus health of the landscapes and all the food that comes from them.
Questions I asked Matthew:
- Restaurant Critic to Farmer: Did you have farming roots or was this a later call to the land?
- What kinds of questions did you ask yourselves and others in deciding what to farm, where, and how in those first couple of years?
- Your last book, On Eating Meat, asks us to explore it in the full context of what it means. Did you embark on that book to prove something to yourself and others that eating meat was ok, as long as we’re eyes wide open, or were there no expectations at all, and was it a humble question you simply wanted to answer fully for yourself/others?
- When did you decide to go underground and focus on soil/ie what were some of the factors that made it plausible to write a book on it?
- Can you share some miraculous and impressive facts about what lies beneath our feet in a healthy ecosystem/ideal soil world, to help a newbie or city kid fall in love with soil?
- You share a lovely personal story of a poo-ologist named Graeme visiting your farm – can you share that with us here?
- How is the average paddock’s soil different from pre-ag to the turn of the 20th century? And then from there to now, how is it different again? (Would be great to talk about Borlaug/Haber-Bosch… a few key findings/moments that had a big impact)
- One of the chapters in your book is called “How the green revolution is turning the world brown” so can we talk about the evolution of wheat?
- “We only have 60 harvests/years of topsoil left” or “we’re losing soil at a rate 30-40 times faster than we’re replacing it” can sound so daunting and ‘big’ that people find it hard to connect with or see what it is they might be able to do. especially with so many not living on the land – how can urban people start to influence the carving out of a new, healthy soil story?
- If you saw two people fighting about plant based vs omnivore for the ‘sake of the environment/planet/climate change’ and you wanted to share a couple of facts about soil to illustrate that perhaps they’re having a futile debate, what would those facts be? (I think that 2015 study about cycling nutrients of the megafauna would be cool here and whatever else you’d like to share)
- Is there a financial case for convincing more farmers to improve their soil?
- We should all ditch meat and eat more plants: Why is it impossible to simply replace ruminants with plants?
- How does a grazing animal foster grass growth?
- Why do you think we’ve ignored the biological importance of soil – is it as simple as short sighted as yields and profits ‘now’ taking our eye off the real prize and the bigger picture?
Other helpful links:
His books Soil and On Eating Meat available at Booktopia.
Matthew is on Twitter and Facebook. Check out @fat_pig_farm on Insta.
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Enjoy the show,