The Science Behind Your Salad

Crossing the globe to discover how the best ingredients that end up on our tables are grown

The Science Behind Your Salad is an awarded podcast for the whole world. We’re not only in search of the best food on the planet, we’ll be telling the stories behind how that food is grown. We’ll hear about new technology already revolutionizing the way crops are grown and the stories of the farmers and growers striving to do the biggest jobs on Earth, putting food on our plates every day in the face of huge challenges of limited resources.

Winner Gallery

The podcast series are the winners of the following international and communication awards.

You can listen to all podcast episodes below on these channels


Latest Episode: Sustainable Cereals

There is a huge variety of grains, from quinoa to spelt, from bulgur wheat to pearl barley, from barley to rye. Barley used to feed livestock and used in whisky distilling are found right on Jane Craigie’s doorstep in Aberdeenshire.

In this episode of the Science Behind Your Salad, Jane meets the growers and distillers as they strive to produce the crop sustainably. She meets Graeme Cruikshank from the award winning Aberlour distillery, Nicola Wordie who has supplied the distillery with barley in the past, Andrew Booth who farms sustainably with a large Anaerobic Digester on his farm and we also hear from Horta, a subsidiary of BASF, striving to improve yields in a part of the world where barley for beer is vital.

Photo of first guest, Renee Pye

Our first guest: Andrew Booth

Andrew is a sixth-generation farmer; the family having initially worked land on the outskirts of Aberdeen before moving to Savock Farms, near Foveran, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland in the 1960s. This home farm has been diversified along various furrows since then, with a contract farming business currently taking the hectares to around 1,600. The business has a number of goals including improving yields year on year and long-term soil health is at the heart of these joint ventures.

Oats make up a large percentage of the crops grown; with the Booth family having diversified four years ago into milling gluten free oats under their sister company Oat Co, which supplies the food manufacturers in the bakery, porridge, milk and plant-based foods market. They jointly run this enterprise with lifelong friends Charlie and Jill Russell.

The oats form part of a strict rotation of three years grass and three years oats. The grass is fed into an on farm anaerobic digester. The 2.5MW ‘gas to grid’ AD plant was built in 2017 and is fed on grass and forage rye, it offers an outlet for waste supplies from oat plant so no wastage; in return providing a homegrown fertiliser that has not only improved soil health, but significantly reduced how much inorganic fertilisers used on the farm.


Photo of second guest, Jon Williams

Our second guest: Matteo Ruggeri

Born in Cremona to a family of veterinarians, Matteo began his journey in sustainability by studying at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Piacenza, Italy. He is an agronomist with a PhD in sustainability assessment at the farm scale, specializing in Decision Support Systems (DSS) for cereals such as wheat, corn, and barley. Currently Matteo is the Project Manager for Sustainability, Carbon Farming, DSSs, and Field Trials at Horta srl, a position he has held full-time since November 2013. Based in Ravenna, Emilia Romagna, Italy, Matteo works on-site to develop and manage DSSs. Together with the Horta team, he developed the sustainability calculation platform and contributed to creating models - a tool used for quantifying CO2 sequestration in soil, focusing on carbon farming for arable crops and conducting field trials primarily for cereals. Additionally, Matteo manages projects for calculating sustainability performance indicators in food supply chains and leads initiatives with food companies on regenerative agriculture. His expertise lies in consultancy on carbon farming issues.

Get in contact with our guests & experts

Man in violet shirt eats organic hummus during meeting with vegan friends

Episode: Food Safety


Past podcast episodes


After twenty years of creating award winning radio shows for the BBC, Fresh Air Production now make high quality podcasts for brands. Working for organisations such as Shell, WWF and Audi, they create podcasts that stand out from the crowd with broadcast-quality journalism and production. They use the intimacy and immediacy of audio to tell fascinating and powerful human stories.  

Presenter – Jane Craigie

I see the world in people and their stories.

Jane Craigie


Jane is an agriculturalist, a traveller and a marketer. She lives on a smallholding in north east Scotland where she keeps livestock and grows her own fruit and vegetables. 

Jane was brought up in Cyprus, India, Turkey and the UK and, aged 16, she decided agriculture was the industry she wanted to work in, and it was communicating the wonders of the industry that have always been her passion.

Jane has a science degree in agriculture, a post-graduate qualification in marketing and she is deeply involved in the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists, a membership organisation that represents journalists and communicators from 54 countries in all regions of the world.  

Producer and Journalist – Martin Poyntz-Roberts 


Martin has almost 20 years’ experience as a journalist and producer working on a variety of subject matters from natural history television to live news radio. He was at the helm of BBC Radio 4’s Costing The Earth series for much of his time at the BBC, produced several documentaries about President Trump and has recently carried out undercover filming for a BBC series in Malaysia. He recently won a Lovie Award for The Big Steal Podcast.

Related topics