One of the unique aspects of the Koonya Garlic Festival is its 'expert talks' that feature some of Tasmania's and Australia's most celebrated horticultural experts. For all aspiring and passionate gardeners, not to be missed.
Q & A The Q & A session was so popular in 2018 that it has been extended to an hour in 2019. This is your chance to meet and to ask questions of the experts and to brush up on your garlic (and general) growing and gardening knowledge.
Short Talks Another popular inclusion in 2018 was the series of short talks from local and regional growers and producers in the iconic festival hall. Again, this is your chance to meet and to exchange ideas and to ask questions of the experts.
SOPHIE THOMSON ABC GARDENING AUSTRALIA & CREATOR OF SOPHIE'S PATCH
Sophie Thomson’s enduring love affair with plants and gardening was inherited from her plant loving parents and her early training began working at the family nursery in the Adelaide Hills. What started-out as a necessity eventually became a key driver in her life as she steadily acquired in-depth knowledge of the nursery’s large collection of rare and distinctive plant varieties. After the nursery was sold, Sophie embarked as a garden consultant and took an active role in the media. Media presenter Sophie Thomson lights up the screen as ABC television’s Gardening Australia South Australian presenter, where her enthusiasm for gardening inspires people of all ages. She is also a popular newspaper columnist, national public speaker, TEDx presenter, author, broadcaster and horticulturalist. As well as writing for the Gardening Australia magazine, Sophie writes the weekly gardening column for the Adelaide Sunday Mail and the Weekender Herald. Books Sophie’s first book From the Ground Up – a complete guide for South Australian Gardeners was released in November 2008 and was judged the best general gardening book in Australia at the 2009 biennial Laurel Awards for Horticultural Media of Australia. It was the first South Australian book to win this award. Sophie co-authored the Reader’s Digest book Waterwise Gardening and the Reader’s Digest publication The Ultimate Book of Vegetables. Her next book ‘Sophie’s Patch’ is due out in autumn 2018.
Sophie’s Patch She lives at Sophie’s Patch – a three-acre property in the Adelaide Hills, with husband Richard, five children under 16 and a menagerie of animals. Over the last five years they have created a remarkable garden around the old stone cottage on what was once a bare paddock. The Patch includes numerous contained spaces as well as a fully productive organic vegie patch, more than 100 fruit and nut trees and what she hopes one day will be a breathtaking, climate compatible ornamental garden. Passion Sophie is known for her resilience, environmental outlook, laser-like focus as well as her infectious enthusiasm, vitality and love of sustainable gardening. She describes herself as an “obsessive-compulsive gardener” who, were it not for the demands of her career and family, would spend every day in the garden.
She is passionate about the role gardening can play in people’s lives as a stress reliever. With more people claiming to feel stressed in their daily lives, let alone having to deal with the challenges faced when experiencing natural disasters such as flood or fires, she is convinced that gardening has a vital role to play in individual and community health, which is being backed up by research and engagement worldwide.
“I believe gardening provides some of the solutions to life’s challenges” says Sophie “because it reduces stress, teaches us resilience, care of our environment and gives us great pleasure and rewards when we see what we can achieve through our endeavours”.
She is an advocate for the worldwide Nature Play movement, which helps kids develop a lifelong connection with nature, and strongly believes in creating green backyards and green open spaces where kids can play freely, reducing their screen time in favour of green time.
ANGUS STEWART Celebrity Horticulturalist; ABC Gardening Australia
Angus Stewart Angus is a professional horticulturist who had a first class honours degree in agricultural science who has spent a life time working in the Australian horticultural industry. He has also had a parallel career as a horticultural evangelist in the media world, including an 11- year stint on Gardening Australia. He had worked extensively on ABC radio throughout Australia, and written numerous articles for various gardening magazines. He had recently moved to the Tasman Peninsula where he has a 15-hectare working farm. He has written 6 gardening books including his most recent book co-authored with Simon Leake ‘Grow Your Own’. He has also authored Let's Propagate which is all about plant propagation. His 2016 book 'The Australian Native Garden: A practical Guide" with A B Bishop that received rave reviews.
LETETIA WARE Soil Specialist & Champion Garlic Grower (Tasmania) Interviewed by actor, director and ABC broadcaster, John Xintavelnos (John X)
Champion Tasmanian Garlic Grower, Letetia Ware., taking out Best in Show at the Melbourne Fine Food Awards.
RICHARD WESTON Award-Winning Weston Farm and Pigeon Hole Cafe
Richard and Belinda Weston of Weston Farm Produce acquired Pigeon Hole Cafe to showcase their farm's fresh produce. They use organic principles and biodynamic practices to ensure high quality sustainable farming.
Pigeon Hole cafe uses fresh produce grown at Weston Farm wherever possible. The cafe's menu is an ever evolving thing, reliant on head chef Alex Mullan's knowledge of what the farm is producing through regular visits to source food, participate in general farming activities, and to establish a real and direct connection with the land. To keep the cafe and farm connected even in the lean times, fruit and vegetables are bottled and preserved and available for purchase at the cafe. Come in and see our chefs along with the Pigeon Hole crew for a true paddock to plate experience.