Special Guests


COSTA GEORGIADIS

ABC Gardening Australia’s host, Costa Georgiadis, is a landscape architect who has an all-consuming passion for plants and people. He knows how to bring out the best in both of them, and takes great pleasure in bringing them together.

Known as the man of soil and soul, the ebullient and warm Costa believes in embracing and celebrating mother nature’s cycles and seasons and nurturing her balance, beauty and bounty organically. His holistic approach is all about gardening the soil and the soul.

Costa is an eco-visionary who is always focused on the big picture. He works on people’s gut feelings about the earth and says he wants to clean the mirror for people to see more clearly how their actions impact on the community, the country – and the world

For Costa soil and water are central to absolutely everything and their availability and sustainability is of the utmost global importance. Costa is particularly fervent about the preciousness of water and the pertinence of its management. He can deconstruct any landscape – analysing climate, aspect, geography, water flow and soil structure to create holistic, sustainable, productive and pleasurable garden and landscape solutions.

Costa’s charm, charisma and passion are invigorating and irresistible. He delights in bringing out the best in everyone he encounters. He makes people shine. He is a particularly comfortable and captivating public speaker who has a gift for making his important messages engaging and highly entertaining. First with Costa’s Garden Odyssey on SBS, and now with Gardening Australia on ABC1, he has reached out and shared his knowledge and passions with one and all.

Food and food security are two areas where Costa connects his skills with landscape design to the very future of human settlements, our cities as we know them. He is involved with regenerative agriculture and the holistic practices that are being nurtured to deal with the issues of a rapidly urbanizing world.

Through ongoing workshops, lecture series, keynotes, expos and on site work, Costa is actively involved with delivering this message to the broader community. His work with primary schools, high schools, TAFE Colleges and Universities, Industry Groups and Community organisations reflects his ability to take the message of a permanent self-sustaining culture, and give it traction to any audience.

Costa gardens with his hands and his heart.

www.costasworld.org/


ALASTAIR MCLEOD

Top chef and TV personality, Irish-born Alastair McLeod was classically trained in Europe and now thrills foodies in Brisbane. His extensive experience in the kitchen includes Michelin- listed, high-profile and fine dining restaurants across Europe and in Brisbane. Alastair presents on Channel Seven’s Queensland Weekender and Network TEN’s Ready Steady Cook, has a regular recipe column in the Brisbane News, and he is frequently on ABC Radio.

He also filmed two seasons of Off The Eaten Track, a food series spotlighting producers which was screened nationally and sold around the world. His recent project, Al’FreshCo, provides catering, markets and his own product line. This new venture is in keeping with Alastair’s passionately support of sourcing locally, believing the closer you are to the source of your food the better it will taste and the smaller the carbon footprint you will create.


CAROLINE JONES

Caroline Jones is considered one of Queensland’s leading pastry chefs, accomplished in both patisserie and traditional home-style baking. Caroline's Brisbane café, Three Girls Skipping, showcases locally-sourced seasonal produce focusing on flavour and freshness. Caroline is also co-owner of the classic French bistro, Boucher, a drawcard for foodies across Brisbane, and she crafts gourmet burgers made from the finest ingredients for the lunch trade at Beastie Burgers at South Bank. A country girl at heart, Caroline values seasonal produce, buying locally where possible and supporting farmers at every opportunity.


GEORGE THE FARMER

George the Farmer is a fun-loving character who is everyone’sfriend. With his trusty dog Jessie by his side, George tackles the day to day activities of Australian farming life with enthusiasm, a can-do attitude and most importantly a big smile.

George the Farmer’s aim is to teach 0-8 year old children about farming practices along with how food and fibre is produced. A survey released in 2012 by the Australian Council of Educational Research revealed that 75% of year 6 Australian students believed that cotton came from animals; 45% could not identify that every day lunch box items such as a banana, bread or cheese originated from a farm and; 27% thought that yoghurt grew on trees. George’s aim is to address this lack in knowledge by educating through fun stories, songs, live performance and games about all facets of agriculture.

George the Farmer covers the topics of: Agriculture, The Environment, Sustainability, Science, Humour, Health & Fitness, Honesty, Social Interaction, Creative Problem Solving, Teamwork and Co-operation.


ALISON ALEXANDER

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Alison hails from rural Queensland growing up in Mt Sylvia and attending school in Toowoomba.

She was co-founder of the first Brisbane Farmers’ market and has travelled the length and breadth of Queensland profiling the state's agriculture and food industries. She has extensive industry networks and is held in high regard by Queensland primary producers, industry leaders, chefs and the food media.

As Queensland Food Fellow, Alison has helped to promote Queensland's reputation in food production to other food opinion leaders and the food industry.

She maintains a blog -Seasonal Pursuits- that is primarily an information source of all things connected with food.  It concentrates on Queensland in particular but covers a wide range of food activities including events, dinners, tours and news from elsewhere. It promotes emerging crops and innovative food products.

www.seasonalpursuits.wordpress.com/


Andrew Simpson

Andrew Simpson is head chef of Varias restaurant in Stanthorpe. Varias' menu focuses on local produce in season, and not only the apples and grapes Stanthorpe is famous for, but also peaches, apricots, strawberries, watercress, herbs, cheese, olives, garlic, veggies and organic lamb, beef and pork. University of Southern Queensland's Queensland College of Wine Tourism runsthe Varias Restaurant and the Banca Ridge Winery and Cellar Door where students learn the art of creating fine dining excellence.