Space food, growing meat in vats, agriculture in a warming world, what’s in our soil, and more

Exclude from Home Page, National Science Week

Great National Science Week FOOD & FARMING stories up for grabs now around Australia:

▪ Plants in space
▪ Will climate change kill our crops?
▪ How much food does the world need?
▪ Bury your undies for science
▪ The beauty of bush tucker
▪ Cellular agriculture: meat grown in vats

These are just a few of the events happening during this year’s National Science Week (August 14 to 22).

If you’re after more ideas for stories, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at, and on Twitter at @SciWKMedia.

Scientists, performers, experts and event organisers are available for interview throughout National Science Week. Read on for contact details for each event, or call:

▪ Tanya Ha: or 0404 083 863
▪ Niall Byrne: or 0417 131 977 or 03 9398 1416.

Individual event details and media contacts

Finding food in a warming world – online, via WA

How will we produce food in a warming climate?

What if we run low on water supplies?

Do we need to adjust our diet?

The Generation Ag podcast explores such topics as alternative food sources, extracting nutrients from food waste, sustainable fishing, and more. Agricutlure enthusiasts Kayla Evans and Lavinia Wehr speak to the people working on future-proofing our food and fibre.

Saturday 10 July to Tuesday 31 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Jane Goldsmith, or 0422 224 183.

Bush tucker 101: what you need to know about Indigenous food and agriculture – online

Native foods have unique and distinctive properties and tastes. But what’s the nutritional value of bush tucker? And what’s safe to eat?

Ask the experts about Indigenous food and agriculture:

  • Gumbaynggirr descendent and RMIT PhD candidate Luke Williams is working with Food Standards Australia and New Zealand and Aboriginal businesses and organisations to research the dietary safety of traditional food items.
  • Kamillaroi/Gomeroi woman and bush tucker expert Kerrie Saunders knows how to prepare native foods, where to source them and what not to eat.
  • Joshua Gilbert is a Worimi man, farmer and academic, who shares the stories of Indigenous identity through agricultural.

They’re sharing their knowledge in an online panel event presentation by the ACT National Science Week Coordinating Committee and the Royal Society of Victoria, hosted by Gamilaraay astrophysicist Karlie Noon.

Friday 13 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Brittany Carter, or 0401 332 137

What’s for dinner on the way to Mars? – online, via ACT

Growing foods in space aims to provide nutritious meals to astronauts and future space travellers.

Part of the plan is to use a tested and engineered protein called Aquaporin – that turns bodily waste into drinking water. It also helps grow plants in space.

How will this be accomplished?

Ask the experts:

  • Dr Caitlin Byrt, an ANU Institute for Space Mission Specialist based in the Research School of Biology
  • Dr Jacob Humpal, an agricultural engineer developing automated plant monitoring systems for growing plants in space
  • NASA space crop production project manager Ralph Fritsche
  • Mt Stromlo Astro-guru Brad Tucker.

Excerpt speakers are available for interviews (Ralph Fritsche has limited availability).

Saturday 14 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Brad Tucker,; or Brittany Carter,, or 0401 332 137.

Secure the future of coffee and kombucha: become a yeast wrangler – online, via SA

What role do microbes have in the flavour and production of fermented foods and beverages?

Citizen scientists are being sought from schools around the country to become yeast catchers for the Australian Wine Research Institute.

Over the next four years, participants will hunt down and catch native Australian yeast as part of a research project.

Saturday 14 August to Wednesday 31 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Ella Robinson, or 08 8313 6600.

Anthony Borneman is available for media interviews.

The science behind Central Queensland’s great foods – online, via QLD

Central Queensland is a rich source of a wide range of food from beef to black sesame seeds – and even Bundaberg ginger beer. The region ships mangoes and market vegetables around the country and beyond. But the growth and sustainability of the region’s agricultural economy relies heavily on science and innovation.

The CQUniversity Festival of Food highlights what is being done through a series of engaging scientific experiments for students and the broader community. Industry, the education sector, and university experts will work together to develop the content, giving people a unique opportunity to explore the science behind Bundaberg food production, Gladstone’s fisheries, the Rockhampton beef industry, Mackay sugar production, and more.

Monday 16 – Friday 20 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Linda Pfeiffer, 07 4970 7205, 0411547848 or

Soil Your Undies! – Murraylands & Riverland, SA

Better compost. Flourishing gardens. And healthier crops.

An experiment asking people to bury their undies is being staged to help determine what’s in different soils.

The observations will help determine what’s active in soils across locations such as farms, gardens, compost, crops and so on.

The Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board is asking people in those regions to take part .

Saturday 14 August to Monday 4 October. Event details:

Media enquiries: Jayne Miller, or 0467 762 107

Soil biologist Eliza Riger and citizen science coordinator Sylvia Clarke are available for media interviews. 

New ways to feed ten billion people – Bundoora, VIC

Researchers are re-designing plants to help feed the world.

Future foods could include the mega mung bean, an outstanding oat or the ultimate superfruit.

La Trobe University plant science researcher Dr Kim Johnson is available for interview

Sunday 15 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Kim Johnson,, 0418 858 465

Growing no-kill meats – online, NSW talent

Scientist are turning to no-kill or cruelty free meat to help feed the world.

Researchers are helping farmers pivot – with cells grown in vats creating cultured meat.

UNSW food science researcher Johannes le Coutre and food journalist Joanna Savill are experts in cellular agriculture.

Ask them how meat is grown in vats, who’s going to eat it and what it tastes like.

Monday 16 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Laura Boland, or 0408 166 426

Johannes le Coutre is available for media interviews.

About National Science Week

National Science Week is one of Australia’s largest festivals, first held in 1997.

Last year about 1.1 million people participated in more than 1200 events, despite a global pandemic.

It is proudly supported by the Australian Government; and partners CSIRO, the Australian Science Teachers Association and the ABC. More information:

National Science Week 2021 runs from 14 to 22 August. Media kit at Or visit the National Science Week website for more events and activities: