HOST of the ABC's Gardening Australia Costa Georgiadis joined a crowd of kids at the Hermitage Research Facility yesterday.

Attending as a keynote speaker at the Schools Plant Science Competition Awards Day and Ag Science Expo, Mr Georgiadis spoke about the role of soil health and gardening in ensuring global food security.

He also did not hesitate to have a laugh and joke with some of the many school Prep to Year 12 school students who turned out for the event.

Event organiser and Hermitage Research Facility customer support officer Kerrie Rubie said about 150-200 schools from around Australia participated in the Schools Plant Science Competition this year.

"It's encouraging students in the next generation of agriculture and science to solve the problems of the world," she said.

The competition invited students to complete tasks based on the topic, the dirt on soil, including creating their own soil experiment.

Mrs Rubie said it fits in well with the curriculum, while tours of the Hermitage facility yesterday showed the students how research is conducted.

"So they can understand how the science they so at school can relate to the real world, making that link," Mrs Rubie said.



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