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Episode 72: Talking Dirty with "Gourmet Farmer," Matthew Evans

In 2005, Matthew Evans quit what many people would consider a dream job - as a restaurant critic with the Sydney Morning Herald. Two years later, he left Sydney for Tasmania's Huon Valley, buying a smallholding "Fat Pig Farm" and becoming a farmer.

He may have been deep in the most southern region of Australia's most southerly state (next stop, Antarctica) but he certainly didn't fade from public view, featuring in a television series, "Gourmet Farmer," writing a dozen books and opening a restaurant on the farm. All in addition to the day to day life of farming.

A passionate 'real food' advocate and defender of ethical farming practices, Matthew's dogged self-education has led him to his most abiding passion yet - soil, resulting in his most recent book - "Soil. The incredible story of what keeps the earth and us, healthy."

In this episode of ExtraVirgin Food and Travel Podcast, we talk about all of the above, as well as the neglected earth beneath our feet, debased by over-clearing, over-grazing and over-ploughing.

Some of it will shock - like the fact that the earth only has enough topsoil left for the next 60 years.

Or that 40% of agriculture worldwide has been abandoned due to soil infertility, or the fact that we lose a soccer pitch worth of soil every 5 seconds, but some of it will make you look at dirt with a lot more respect than you'd think possible.

Take for example, the fact that a teaspoon of soil contains more living organisms than the population of the entire planet, that a spade-full has more biodiversity than is found in the Amazon.

Or that scientists are researching a microbe only found in soil that makes humans release a 'happy hormone' as a possible treatment for PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder).

It's a fascinating chat, with one of the most interesting, well-informed and genuine people in the food world.

Soil. The incredible story of what keeps the earth, and us, healthy is published by Murdoch Books RRP $32.99


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