World Soil Day is less than a month away. On December 5th, we want to take a moment to appreciate soil and all that it does for us. Soil is the foundation of a healthy ecosystem, home to many of earth’s living things, including bacteria, protozoa, nematodes, organic matter, fungi, etc. Whether on a farm or in our backyards, taking care of the soil and building healthy soil is important because of the significant ways soil impacts the environment and climate change. Through the management of all soils, there is great potential to capture carbon in the ground as well as reduce and properly manage fertilizer inputs that result in harmful emissions. Caring for the soil in these ways increases biodiversity, reduces greenhouse gases, and results in cleaner water for drinking and crops. Ultimately, soils are responsible for the nutritious and delicious food we eat; let’s show our soils some love.
On-farm practices for building healthy soil include, but are not limited to cover cropping, no or reduced tillage, compost application, no synthetic pesticides, long term field cropping, diversified crop rotation, maintaining soil cover, and agroforestry. Farmers can adopt any of these practices to continue to maintain good quality soil. Higher levels of soil organic matter improve soil structure and reduce the chances of erosion. Healthier soils improve the quality of surrounding ecosystems and the plants that feed off the soil. Taking care of and appreciating soil is hugely beneficial for food production. These practices can be applied on a small or large scale. Read our full story on the Importance of Soil Health.