Q&A with Paul West

Welcome Paul, G’day Digger,

 Tell us about Grow It Local Festival (digital edition) and how it works?

The legends at Grow it Local want to turn every Australian, nay, earthling, into a food growing local lord. Spring is the time to get digging in the garden, so they have cooked up this incredible digital festival that will feature weekly, free live workshops with gardening and growing gurus to get people skilled up and inspired to get their patches pumping this year. All you have to do to take part is head over to the website, click on a workshop that you like the look of (my first one is on growing food in pots!) and register you details! 

 I see it was curated by yourself and Digger, how did this collab come about?

I was fishing on the rockwall of Bermagui Harbour one day, lost between the hypnotic effect of the crystal clear water and the scintillating action of the silver trevally coming on the bite, when a kind man named Dazz sporting a moustache and a Grow it Local cap asked if my dog could curate a festival with him. I said (on behalf of Digger) that he’d love to, so long as he was included in the festival artwork and that he’d score a free t-shirt. The rest is history, though this festival is history in the making!

You’ve both done an exceptional job curating the programming, any highlights or sessions you’re particularly excited about? 

Costa and compost, two of my favourite things.

Jac Semmler from the Diggers club on how to make your garden edible and beautiful, and Doug Purdie’s intro in backyard beekeeping.

So many great workshops! There is also some fella talking about growing food in pots that might be worth a look, if only for the cameo of neighbour Graheme. That said, the October and November sessions will be announced Sept 15 and there’s some absolutely gold in there too!

Who is Grow It Local Festival for?


If you have even the slightest interest on good food, good growing and being apart of a community, then there will be plenty of great events during the festival to get you skilled and excited to be growing your own food! 

There’s been an explosion of interest in growing food at home since covid-19 hit, what do you think has driven this surge in community interest and why is it important?

Our food system was exposed as being fragile. We take the convenience of someone else growing our food somewhere else for granted, and for the first time in many people’s lives, we went to supermarket to find empty shelves. If there’s no food at the supermarket, where are we supposed to get food from? The same place that it has come from for hundreds of years before the convenience culture took over, our backyards and neighbourhoods! Couple that with more people working from home and in isolation, it was the perfect storm to get people interested in taking a little power back in where their food comes from.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about taking up growing?

Two things…

#1: DO IT

#2: Register on growitlocal.com to learn how to and to connect with other growers in your local area and around the country.

What is your favourite veg to grow and why?

Pumpkins. They are like triffids, you pop a couple of plants in the ground and next thing you know you’re in a sea of cucurbit. The pumpkins store well through winter and are always great to have on hand for an impromptu garden or farm themed photo shoot, of which I have participated in many.

Top 3 favourite veg or fruits to cook with?

Tomatoes, Onions, Garlic. The three foundations of so many great things to eat! (Plus a little wine, but that doesn’t count as a vegetable, right?)

What’s this about you and a certain ‘chicken lover’ t-shirt?

I am a certified chicken lover. I love watching them scratch around the yard. I love their individual personalities. I love their delicious eggs.

Yes I am a chicken lover and I have the t-shirt ot prove it. If this sounds like you roll on to growitlocal.com to pickup your very own chicken lover t-shirt (Chickens not included) 

Whose patch would you most like to checkout and why?

Costa’s. I’ve heard that he actually has a secret garden hidden deep within the oldest part of his beard. Legend has it that it is the most fertile and biodiverse garden ever cultivated by a human being. I’d like to chill out in a hammock and drink a cold beverage in there one day.

What’s growing on in your patch right now?

Spring cometh! I’m starting to pull out all my tired winter crops and getting the beds ready for planting out my summer crops. I’ve got an extra special spot for the pumpkins this year., maybe I should have a pumpkin lover t-shirt too!