Gardening and goodness: LEAF welcomes Costa
The biggest shifts start with a small step – and living a more eco-friendly life is no exception. Just ask Australia’s favourite gardener and long-time friend of the Logan Eco Action Festival (LEAF), Costa Georgiadis.
Costa, whose infectious enthusiasm for gardening has influenced thousands of Aussies, says he’s delighted the past 2 years have seen an increasing interest in nature and gardening.
‘There has been an explosion of interest, because people have had time on their hands and realised how rewarding it is,’ he says.
For those yet to dip their toe into home gardening, he advises starting small.
‘Start in containers – grow food in a pot and see what happens,’ he says.
‘Grow something simple like a lettuce or zucchini. Nature does things abundantly, and suddenly you get to make a couple of salads a week and think ‘I grew that’. It’s powerful.’
Costa thinks the increased interest in nature and gardening is here to stay.
‘I think that this period has grown a connection of people to the natural world,’ he says.
‘Lockdown has shown people that therapeutic aspect of being in nature, where people were walking their local streets and bushland. They saw the changes in nature, where the insects were and the birds were.
‘Nature and gardening took people’s minds off the pandemic. Nature can give us a lot more than we think.’
Nature and all it gives is again being celebrated in Logan on 5 June with LEAF, returning this year on World Environment Day – with Costa as a special guest, as he has been since 2017.
He says what he calls ’the EKKA of the environment’ is one of his favourite events on the calendar.
‘LEAF is not just about one message – there is something that resonates with everyone, whether it’s growing food, sustainability, composting, local wildlife, wellness – it’s all there, and it shares its messages in an inclusive way, by putting out a hand and saying let’s do this together,’ he says.
‘It’s so grounded in Logan, and the people here doing the work. It addresses world-wide challenges but puts them on the Logan stage.
‘It’s not using images that are so remote from people’s day-to-day lives that they feel overwhelmed – it shows that changes we can make are bigger than the sum of their parts and when the community comes together you can achieve big things.’
It’s never too late – or too early – to start embracing nature.
‘For children, it takes them away from the clock of life and into nature’s clock where they watch something grow from a seedling and they have to have patience and perform duties to nurture that,’ says Costa.
‘There’s something calming about it and you can connect the dots of nature. It puts children on a trajectory to work with nature and not against it.’
Costa has brought together some of his joyful philosophies, tips and guidance on nature in his recent book Costa’s World.
‘The book was a real learning curve and when it was out there and I was seeing people sharing pictures of them reading it with their children, it was very emotional,’ he says.
Costa says the tenet of his book is three-fold: ‘heart: why am I so pumped up about this; head: what’s the science behind it; and hands: what can we do with this’.
‘In that way, LEAF is like the 3D carnival of my book! An inclusive walk-through to engage with, interact with, and enjoy.’
Costa says he hopes everyone who has been to LEAF before each brings one LEAF newbie.
‘If that happens, we are bringing all the messages in front of more people and we take the festival from one that’s sustainable to regenerative.’