Biological Farming - Stuart Proud

"I remember back in University it was all chemistry and physics, whereas I think the biology plays such a massive role. I really hope that for the next generation of people that come through, more of that is emphasized." Stuart Proud - Biological farmer

Stuart Proud is the Viticulturist and winemaker for Thousand Candles in the Yarra Valley, along with his family project, Proud Primary Produce.  He follows biological farming practices, focusing on soil health and natural farming systems to produce exceptional fruit for great wines.

Stu discuss's the concept of biological farming, his influences in the switch to this appoach, value adding through better farm health and the first steps to take towards biological practices. 

Blooper cuts galore at the end of this episode!

Click the image to watch the video.

McLaren Vale Grenache to the World

"..the best businesses have a conversation with people, they don't just transmit stuff, and the very best ones understand what emotion they are trying to engage within their customer."

Toby Bekkers, Bekkers Wine

Toby Bekkers is many things. A Viticulturist, Vigneron, Wine Business Consultant, Nuffield scholar, McLaren Vale identity and master observer.

Toby chats about converting vineyards to organics and biodynamics, selling wine to race horse owners, where he observes to find the best learnings and Graham Norton.

Click the image and Enjoy the video

The Nuffield Phenomenon - Dr Jean Lonie

"Leadership is finding your voice and having the agency to step into issues that are important to you, and be part of the conversation. Leadership is stepping up to a situation that needs people to be part of it and you have that voice." Jean Lonie

Dr Jean Lonie is a Director of Nuffield USA, and has now completed her PHD at Penn State University. Her topic was "The Public Value of Global Agricultural Capacity programs -specifically the Nuffield Phenomenon". Jean discusses the Nuffield program, agricultural leadership, capacity building,  collaboration,  and the concept of antifragility.

Differing time zones are a challenge but caffeine carried me through this interview.

Click the picture to watch the video. Enjoy

Vineyard Soils Guru - Professor Bob White

"Provided you're putting adequate amounts of the right kind of organic matter you will have a diverse micro flora in the soil." Prof. Bob White
 

Professor Bob White, author of "Understanding Vineyard Soils" and "Soils for Fine Wine"  knows his soils.  We discuss what makes a great viticultural soil, soil biology, terroir and how he came to be involved in the world of vineyard soil's.

Speaking with Bob is a real privilege, as he is a gem of the wine industry's soil sphere.

It is just a pity we had an unexpected intruder at the end...

Click the photo to view the video and enjoy.

 

Aromatic Soil Biology - Buxton Black Truffles

"Having a good healthy soil is the key to having good aromatic truffles" Adrian Utter

Adrian Utter and his father Bob love the sweet smell of soil biology - Truffles that is.  Set in the Acheron Valley of Victoria, their Buxton Black Truffles tuffiere is a mix of oaks which are now close to 10 years old.  With the help of Lily, the truffle hound extraordinaire they go searching for the microbial jewels of the soil.

We talk soils, aromatics, tree establishment, the influence of Bob and put Lily to the test to hunt for truffles too. I wish we had smell-o -vision!

Enjoy.

 

Change. Inevitable, and often for the best..

"Look at things from a different angle...  be open to someone who's doing it the opposite way. You can learn something from someone's opinion. You might not agree with it, but you might learn something from that" Simon McLachlan

Simon lives this philosophy. He's a keen observer, respectful of others and not afraid to upset his own status quo.  He has converted farms from conventional to bio dynamic practices, moved states and climate zones and grown any number of different crops. He and his wife Josie also directed an off the grid youth wilderness retreat. Perhaps this period of hard work in humble, disconnected surrounds helped solidify the observer that Simon is today. Now they are developing their own property in Hoddles Creek, a long way from Simon's roots growing pineapples,ginger and strawberries in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. 

Simon and Josie embrace change, and their farming is all the better for it.

Enjoy, the video.

 

 

Repairing the Ozone Layer

"The ozone hole recovery at this stage, 34% of that recovery, is just due to the regulation of methyl bromide." Prof. Ian Porter

As a child of the 80's and 90's, I vividly remember the discussion around the hole in the ozone layer, a real hot topic of the time.  Professor Ian Porter of La Trobe University has been working with the United Nations since the Montreal Protocol was enacted to aid in its repair.  Ian's role has been to co-chair the committee for the reduction of Methyl Bromide in Agriculture. This work, along with the reduction of other ozone depleting substances,  has resulted in significant repair to the ozone layer and the atmospheres ability to filter ultraviolet radiation. 

We discuss soil health, UV radiation, leadership and the politics of working with the UN. Ian is passionate about this topic, hence his recent award of recognition from the United nations for 30 years of dedication to the cause, and a great communicator. 

Enjoy.

 

 

The Soil Health Lab.

Dirt Dude Conversations 1. Bob and Kirsten of the Soil Health Lab.

"Cover crops, I think that's gotta be one of the most important things,just because of building up the organic matter, and reducing the erosion potential." Kirsten Kurtz

Bob Schindelbeck and Kirsten Kurtz of the Cornell University soil health lab are soil analysis and extension experts, connecting farmers with the latest thinking at the University. The soil health movement is a relatively new way of thinking to mainstream agriculture, and Cornell has worked hard at a holistic approach for measuring and then delivering tools to improve soil health and agricultural sustainability. Often is as much as understanding the motivation of the farmer as the soil tests themselves.  It was with Bob and Kirsten that I first realised that soil science is as much about the sociology as the science.

We talk not only about the soil health Lab, but also growing wine grapes in the nearby Finger Lakes district, the importance of cover crops and reducing tillage. These guys are seriously passionate about their soils and serving their districts.