Food Drink

Meet the farmers at the Scenic Hotel’s two-day Top Soil Festival

Reduce your impact on the environment by learning how to compost, seed save, and ferment your own food at this unique food and wine festival.

South Australia is home to a variety of food and wine festivals, but the Scenic Hotel’s Top Soil Festival, focusing on community farming and regenerative farming practices, is certainly one-of-a-kind.

After a hugely successful inaugural year in 2021, the Top Soil Festival has expanded to two days and now incorporates a number of workshops teaching Adelaideans how to reduce their impact on the land.

“We’ve combined community farming and regenerative nature into one festival. We couldn’t really fit everything into one day last year!” said Co-founder Jay Marinis.

“The first day will include workshops with experts in their fields and will teach you all the things you can do at home that reduces your impact on the environment, such as fermenting your own foods, composting, and seed saving.

“We’re really packing learning into day one, ending with a lunch presented by Adam James of Rough Rice, who is famous for zero waste food and fermentation. I think it’s the first time he’s done a meal here in SA!

“For day two, the event will be similar to last year with market stalls with chefs and farmers, as well as winemakers. After the stalls, there will be a welcome to country, a panel discussion, and live music.”

Local SA bands will headline the food and wine event, including The High Beamers, Lucky Seven, Jimmy Bay, and more.

What makes the Top Soil Festival truly unique is, first of all, its desire to put farmers, graziers and fishers front and centre, as well as providing a space for community integration.

“The premise of our regenerative farming festival is to showcase farmers first. SA culture has been really good at putting our best chefs and final producers on a pedestal, but the product is made at the farms. Some of the chefs are also farmers, but that’s not the bulk of the work.

“To put farmers first helps people understand where their food and wine comes from.

“I’m really excited because the festival brings together people from new and interesting linages that wouldn’t usually have access to this knowledge.

“It’s an expression of the Scenic Hotel’s social change agenda, representing community good. This place [Scenic Hotel] will hopefully become a welcome hub of community integration.”

Jay explained his desire to make the event even more accessible, so all knowledge can be shared on an equitable basis.  

“If people are experiencing marginalisation and/or financial difficulties, please contact us so we can help,” said Jay.

“Eventually, access [to the festival] will be means-based and equitable, because these learnings are important to society in general.

“It’s very difficult to know how it will work because there’s not many models to base that off, so we’d love to hear people’s feedback on how to make that better.”

Where: The Scenic Hotel, Norton Summit SA 5136

When: Saturday 14 May 10:30am-2:30pm, Sunday 15 May 12:00pm-10:30pm

Cost: Two day ticket $100, Day One only: Workshops & Growers Lunch $65, Day Two only: Festival general admission $55, children under 15 years $15.

To find out more or buy your tickets, click here.

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