Gardening Australia TV icon Costa Georgiadis was in the Bega Valley over the weekend.
He was invited to speak at Tulgeen Riverside Nursery in a collaboration between Eat Dirt Permaculture, South East Arts, and Candelo Books.
On Saturday March 19 Councillor Karen Wright joined Costa to talk subjects from his book Costa's World, published in October 2021.
Costa started off by explaining his love of the Far South Coast and said although he would love to live here, his work duties meant his life had to remain in Sydney.
Cr Wright began the conversation by asking Costa about his grandparents, who were big influences on his love of gardening and creating community.
"To me it was the certainty, my grandparents were that certainty in my life and they were just there. Like even that alone is a big thing because there's just so much turbulence in a lot of lives these days and kids are split across multiple homes.
"I was fortunate to have that certainty, when I went there there was a certainty that my grandfather would be in the garden and my grandmother would be somewhere in-between the garden and the kitchen," he said.
"I realise looking back, I was watching my grandparents and they weren't saying to me, 'you have to become a market gardener, you have to be organic, you need to be a permaculturalist' - that was before those ideas were out there, they were just living it."
The next question posed was related to a statement Costa made in his book about children not having to forgo their digital connection as a trade off to their connection to nature, and how technology can be used to foster an education about the world around them.
"Children can use technology to connect them to the big world, but also give them the lens and goggles capable of focusing with a macro lens and understanding what it is.
"When we use things like Backyard Bird Count and go out and start counting birds and you can do that in an app or exercise book and that becomes data and which becomes citizen science and you're collecting valued information and data."
Costa said he believed technology and artificial intelligence were integral to creating solutions to the damage that has been done to the environment in the last few hundred years.
"Then there's also Frog ID and so anywhere you hear a frog, you can put that there, push record and it records for one minute and sends that to the Australian Museum.
"A frog scientist listens to it gives you what the frog is and sends it back with links and information abut the frog and geolocates that and puts it in the data system," said Costa.
The next topic was around the importance of native bees and the issues created when non-native bees were incorrectly managed.
He said that for most people who want to do something to assist in maintaining our native bee populations, the best option would be to plant native plants and understand how they flowered across the year to provide food for native bees.
In terms of sustainability, Costa wanted to acknowledge the great work of the Bega Valley Shire community in implementing the Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) program that collects food scraps to be composted - he even spoke about in his book.
Costa also outlined about the importance of businesses closing the system in terms of their products and that he believed businesses should be responsible for the life of their product from the start to the finish.
"There should be very strict controls that say if you make it then you're responsible for it, you have to build it to last," he said.
As a consumer he thought it was also necessary to think about the products we bring into our life and take responsibility for them.
"We alone can influence that closed system by not buying things that become an exit and a waste, so we can do that from the point of view of simple day-to-day things, but most of all the place we can do it is through the things we invest in.
"If I say I'm proud to buy this because it represents me and what I believe in, not consumption, waste, being influenced by trends, or this is the latest.
"Do the homework on it, uncover the lies and buy because it will last and then share and amplify that to people," said Costa.
After the talk, Costa held a book signing event thanks to Candelo Books.