Deb Newell was born and educated in Brisbane. She is currently combining her extensive 25 year career as a chef, food consultant and event designer with her academic and agricultural knowledge of food production to plead the cause for retaining our soils in their natural state to ensure that they can keep underwriting all life on Earth.

She has invented the term of Peak Soil and the implications of this for what she calls Peak Food. She is currently writing papers on this issue and researching for her book ‘Peak Soil means Peak Food’. In 2009, she started the Hunter Gatherer Dinner Club as a travelling ‘food-as-adventure experience’ that takes small groups of people to iconic landscapes to enjoy both the experience of the place and the food found thereon.

From 1997–2001 she developed and ran a national feed-to-flavour assessment campaign, The Paddocks to Palates, to reposition grass or pasture finished meats (specifically beef) for their superior flavour. Researched as part of a CSIRO partnered project, the data confirmed that feed qualities affect meat flavours, a world scientific first.

In 2001 Deborah returned to the University of Queensland to complete a Masters degree in Environmental Management and Sustainable Development in the field of agriculture. She developed the concept of ‘the intelligence of place’ to describe the evolutionary best-practice adaptation of all species to their indigenous environments.


Pieces by Deb Newell

Mud, mud glorious mud
Edition 32: Wicked Problems, Exquisite Dilemmas

A fork in the road
Edition 37: Small World

Griffith Review