Woodfordia’s Environmental Projects Officer, Dr. Sandra, interviews new Woodfordian Costa Georgiadis.
Sandra: Tell us about your favourite moments at your first Woodford Folk Festival. What has inspired you most?
Costa: Given that I had no idea of what it‘s actually like, what inspired me the most, is that it is such a massive event that is so incredibly orchestrated. To have so many people lumped together in a paddock and for it not to be in chaos, is beyond comprehension! This blew me away the most. Until you see it, there is no context of how impressive that is.
The other thing that struck me is the really distinctive pulse that is purely and simply Woodford. From every patron, volunteer and participant there is a feeling of a greater good. The goodwill around the vision of Woodford is carried by everyone that is involved in their own special way. I felt this pulse; I was enveloped by it. Until you’re there on the ground it’s difficult to appreciate.
Sandra: What do you think we could be doing at Woodfordia to improve our environmental aspirations?
Costa: In broad structural terms, a lot of the key environmental legs are pretty well in place. Dealing with the sewerage and keeping the water on site is so significant. In terms of separation of waste, composting of food and removal of single–use products, there is always room to grow and shift. However, the ongoing environmental and education programmes have far–reaching effects, infiltrating those experiences into communities. This is priceless! If any of the education can be amplified into communities, then the festival is about the other 360 days of the year, providing inspiring education infiltrating the masses.
Sandra: Is it true that you’ve spent a lot of your time at the Children’s Festival? Why is that?
Costa: I was at the Children’s Festival every single day because there was an incredible program of education to share and highlight. There is a suite of educators who have been educating children for 15 to 20 years. It’s in their DNA! For the kids to have the opportunity is unique – you just don’t get that anywhere. I was there to contribute, recognise and support everyone there, to reflect the fact that the entire event respects the role of family and education of our young. There is true value of letting the youthful exuberance infiltrate the parents as they stand by or participate with their children. It’s never too late to change perspective by inviting people to come and dress up and dance like it doesn‘t matter and be a kid again, because the world needs this youthful exuberance – people take themselves too seriously. To me, the hildren’s Festival is the parallel beating heart of the festival. There is no future in the festival unless there is a Children’s Festival. Working with children is the only way forward. There is no future without nurture and investment into growing the next generation.
Sandra: Why have you chosen gardening as an educational tool?
Costa: Gardening is a non-intimidating “Trojan horse“ that can cross all boundaries and sneak under people’s skin without them realising the political message they are participating in. Be it growing your own tomatoes that are free, sweeter and chemical–free, there are lots of ways gardening can draw people in. Whether through growing flowers or meadows for pollinators, or growing food, or whether you want to become a land-carer, or be a birdwatcher, or be a part of a community, or create a school garden – there are so many layers of gardening that are not just career-based but multi-optional opportunities. I can connect gardening with any question people ask me, and this makes gardening a universal educational tool.
Sandra: How is building healthy soils critically important in reversing climate change?
Costa: Healthy soil fixes carbon, holds water and nutrients, creates mineral–dense foods and creates food and nutrition for people. Healthy people have healthy minds and generate healthy decisions when confronting challenges that are facing this generation. Healthy decision–making confronts our changing future, creating flexibility, and adaptability in turn generates a capacity to communicate without fear. The role of soil is life – that thin living layer along the surface of the planet is what sustains us. We create lifelessness without it. To understand that that’s our back–up, our biodiversity hub, and that it holds answers to many of our problems, we need to study the soil and the plants growing from the soil as our medicines and health opportunities that lie in this, as yet, poorly understood and open network.
Sandra: Do you believe that our individual actions can translate into political change on a global scale?
Costa: I think people are very easily persuaded with the notion of, “What does my input matter?”, but all of the significant projects I’ve seen around the world have been incubated by an individual. I believe we need to consciously disregard the overburden of, “I don’t matter.” All great ideas start from a light–bulb moment and all of us get light–bulb moments, but risk aversion means we don’t allow them to eventuate, and we extinguish that desire, as we put our heads down. And yet, the more we share and collaborate, the more we create collectively. We have to clearly distinguish the joy of sharing an idea and the pain of taking negative comments personally. If what others think of us feels like rejection, and we build a wall of fear around us, innovation becomes impossible – and yet implementation of ideas makes light bulbs burn longer. As a rugby referee, I tell young people that some of your best victories are your losses – keep your skin oiled and don’t take things personally, so you can shine your light bulb onto the world.
This article as been shared by courtesy of Lore Society, a publication available to Woodfordian Citizens in print and digital format. To access more articles like this, you can sign up to become a citizen here.
Lore Society is the quarterly journal of Woodfordia Inc., a not-for-profit Incorporated Association that produces the Woodford Folk Festival, The Planting, Festival of Small Halls and Woodfordia’s Artisan Camp at Woodfordia, Queensland, Australia.