GARDENING guru Costa Georgiadis has simple advice for Sunshine Coast mums: Put your money where your kid's mouth is.
The ABC Gardening Australia personality says while many argue healthy, wholesome foods are too expensive, they should consider the health consequences of eating cheaper junk food.
He said American farmer Joel Salatin nailed it in one line when he asked: "If you think organic is expensive, have you priced cancer lately?"
Costa (pictured) is one of the special guests at this weekend's Queensland Garden Expo at Nambour's showgrounds.
His presentations on the link between mass-produced food and ill health were among the most popular shows at last year's expo.
Since then he has switched from SBS to the ABC and is using the new platform to get the message across about the sort of food people grow and eat, and their health.
Recent episodes have told the story of a guy in his 40s who after a health scare started to grow his own medicine in his garden.
Like many, the "average bloke" thought he was "bullet proof" until he discovered the link between poor diet, a lack of exercise and his own health in a real way.
Costa has shared stories telling of people who have grown herbs to help address stress and mental health issues as well as sharing cold and flu remedies from the backyard.
He says one of the best ways people can support local growers is to do their fruit and vegetable shopping at farmers' markets.
Costa said he was visiting schools trying to inspire a new generation to think twice about what they put in their mouths.
"The more it is connected to health, the more it gets a solid narration," he said.
"It has to be story-telling to connect the soul.
"We have to make it engaging.
"That's the bit that drives me, seeing kids ... how quickly they absorb this information."
He said he even had children eating spicy mustard leaves because they were so excited that after six weeks something they had grown was ready to eat.
Costa said the Coast had one of the best proponents of school gardening in Leonie Shanahan who was honoured recently in the Glossie Awards for her edible school gardens.
"She is one of the best in the business. It's just really straight hands on. It doesn't require a large amount of set-up."
COSTA'S TOP FIVE TIPS
- If you eat something from a packet, rigorously check the label.
- Start growing your own food, starting out small.
- Eat more raw, whole foods.
- Take time to consider every dollar you spend on your food.
- Share what you grow because that will start to build a real community around you.