What I drink when ... Costa Georgiadis

Costa Georgiadis hovers over a blender, teeth jutting through the hedge of his beard. ''This is gonna be fun,'' he says.

He's piling coconut, parsley, mint, lettuce and avocado into the blender.

The result is surprisingly refreshing, though a sinister dark green.

We meet in the morning, but Georgiadis thinks his vegetable smoothie works well as a cocktail. ''I don't need a lot to rock my boat, but it's interesting if you add a bit of vodka to it,'' he says.

The recipe is a creation of his friend, Cynthia Louise, a cookery instructor who goes by the name The Real Food Chef. It's an apt choice for a man who preaches the benefits of home-grown food with an infectious mania.

He picks up a lettuce and brandishes it. ''This should not be transported from Queensland,'' Georgiadis says. ''The whole [grocery] industry is designed for food that can be preserved and transported.''

It was in his grandfather's market garden that Georgiadis developed a love of nature. It took on an intellectual dimension when he studied landscape gardening at university and became interested in issues of sustainability.

Georgiadis will have a new platform for his views when he starts hosting ABC TV's long-running program Gardening Australia on March 31. ''I want to put that whole health and nutrition message into the show,'' he says.

He is an unusual choice for a traditionally staid and sober series. Georgiadis made his name as television's most dishevelled presenter on SBS's Costa's Garden Odyssey, where he got his hands and knees dirty and expounded on environmental issues and the spirituality of gardening.

''Gardening Australia has a well-established audience, but I want to bring in young people,'' he says. ''They're the ones I want to get excited. It's not [going to be] a voyeur thing about other people's gardens. I want them out there colonising their nature strips and just growing stuff.''

There are no cameras rolling as we talk in the kitchen of the Bondi home he shares with his father, but Georgiadis is a natural performer. He's excitable and his conversation is expansive and illustrated with the hyperbolic gestures of a street mime.

Today he's dressed in jeans and a T-shirt that proclaims his love of goats. The message, he says, is about viewing animals as more than food.

''You walk the streets and you've got these men from the council spraying [weeds] with hundreds of litres of pesticides,'' he says. ''I'd like to see them with a goat-herding cane.''

Georgiadis has his own practical pets, with a brood of chickens - ''the girls'' - he keeps in his backyard. They turn the soil for his vegetable garden and he can tell the paternity of their eggs from the speckles on the shells.

He recalls with some feeling the process of nursing one back to health after it got a piece of grain stuck in its throat.

He hand-fed it honey and yoghurt for several weeks.

Suddenly he realises his smoothie is missing a crucial ingredient - he's forgotten to add the frozen banana. He claps his hands together, turns on his heel and dances a jig back towards the blender.

Costa's green smoothie

2 cups of coconut water or filtered water
350 grams of leafy greens (spinach, lettuce, kale, parsley, mint, basil etc)
1 frozen banana
½ an avocado for texture
Optional: ginger; coriander; spirulina; lemon; vodka.

Put all ingredients in a blender and whiz until smooth.