The Gourmet Garden School teaches soil healthy for flavoursome food Coffs Coast Coffs Coast News by News Of The Area - Modern Media - August 2, 2021 Beautiful home-grown carrots. THE GOURMET Garden School’s soil workshops in Raleigh are filling up fast, as their co-founder Ian Thomas’ reputation for accessible deep dives into earthy business flourishes. An Environmental Scientist and Soil Analyst, Ian runs the workshops in his own home garden where he can engage with people hands-on. “There are forgotten flavours and quality that you get once you home-grow your own food,” Ian told News Of The Area. “To grow nutritious, flavoursome crops, it’s all about improving soil health. “I love to get people feeling the soil, smelling it and really taking notice. “My passion is to share ways of improving the soil’s fertility.” There are three key components to soil: the structure, chemistry and biology. Ian’s primary focus is the biology, to get better quality, more flavoursome food for less effort. “Once you get that thriving then most of your work is done.” Attendees are encouraged to bring along a sample of their own soil as a teaching tool. Does it have worms? Is it crusty? How does it smell? “These are the diagnostics and then we explore the health boosters,” Ian said. “We learn the fundamentals of what creates fertile soil and how to maintain it. “We’ll be making some soil inoculants – easy microbial brews that we’ll be putting onto the soil which have a runaway effect…a chain of microbial reactions that boost the soil’s health. “As a society we’ve been degrading our soils with machinery and synthetic fertilisers and paid very little attention to soil’s biological and mineral balance making the consequent crops increasingly unhealthy and dependent on pesticides to avoid insects doing their natural job and cleaning them up. “Some people think it’s too hard to grow food at home, but even just some herbs; the next pizza you have with your own fresh-grown basil leaves on will be the best you’ve eaten. “Food brings a sense of connection to place, and consuming food is a sacred act.” See the new website for workshop dates: www.thegourmetgarden.school (launching early August) or: https://www.facebook.com/TheGourmetGardenSchool. By Andrea FERRARI Ian Thomas, finds forgotten flavours in his veggie garden. “It’s all about soil health” said Ian Thomas, founder of The Gourmet Garden School.