If you have been on a farm tour recently or spoken with my dad about what we’re up to at Wild Hope, you may have heard him go off on a tangent about our soil health and what we’re doing to improve it. He’s a bit obsessive when it comes to this topic but let me assure you, there’s a reason for his madness.
A bit of background - I used to lead an urban life, rather disconnected from the surrounding environment aside from weekend hikes or post-work runs. I had a very limited understanding of what sustainable farming meant and how it might impact my world. I rarely (never) thought about the role that soil plays in defining the flavor, crop productivity, or flooding. To make matters worse, my husband at the time was conducting research for a conservation fund on soil health and yet I STILL was not listening. The irony of this story is that now I am a farmer, practicing regenerative agriculture and realizing the importance of educating people like my urban self that how we treat our land (esp. our soil) really truly DOES MATTER. Here are the three main reasons why:
If you’re a foodie, you’d be interested to know that soil matters because it defines the QUALITY and TASTE of a vegetable. Healthy soil fosters a productive environment for our plants to grow, the more nutrient rich the soil, the more nutrient rich the food (which we’re consuming). AND you can actually taste this difference. It is no longer enough to just say “you are what you eat” because in reality, we are what we eat eats.
If you’re a farmer or backyard gardener, you’d be interested to know soil health improves the PRODUCTIVITY of your farm. Improving your soil leads to stronger, more pest resistent plants. And not just as a one-time thing, there’s a positive feedback loop here.
And lastly, if you’re looking at the triple bottom line, you’d be interested to know of the externalities of soil. Healthy soil helps to prevent erosion of fertile topsoil and reduce the impact of flooding or droughts by absorbing more water, soil is also one of the largest reservoirs of carbon and carbon sequestration through soil can fight climate change.
I hope you’re beginning to understand why we speak of our soil health as if it’s a long-term investment. Because it really is, it’s a measurable investment in our land, our health, and our future generations… and now I’m sounding obsessive!
If you’re hooked on all things soil, read more about how we’re tracking our soil health here.