Soil Health: The Root Of The Issue
When we think about our food, the last thing most of us probably think about is the soil it grows in. This makes sense, since most of us do not grow our own food and think about the process. But in actuality, all those crops are a product of the soil in which it's roots grow. You'd be surprised to know just how many ways the soil effects our food from the roots up!
Every system has a foundation which is relies upon in order to thrive and healthy soil is the necessary substructure of the food system. The soil provides the crucial oxygen, water, nutrients, and root support that our crops need to blossom and thrive. The soil even has the ability to protect fragile plant roots from sudden or extreme temperature changes. The many organisms, including microscopic ones, make up a living ecosystem, which function to recycle nutrients, control plants diseases, convert dead and decaying matter, and more. Soil which is healthy can also temper climate change by maintaining or increasing it's carbon levels. That's pretty awesome!
Unfortunately, due to a rapidly growing population and increased produce demand, exhaustive crop production has, in many countries, depleted the soil of it's fertility, inhibiting food supply for future generations. Also, unhealthy styles of farming have also been the culprit of depleting our soils.
Maybe you have heard of biodynamic farming? Many experts claim this is the solution to maintaining soil health and much more. Biodynamic farming is the ultimate preserver of the soil and all the dynamics that exist within the self-sustainable ecosystem. As mentioned previously, because we have done things to our soil that go against nature's flow, we have depleted the soil. But in biodynamic farming, everything is done in accordance to nature. This way, everything works together, and nothing against the other. Sound tricky? It's actually quite simple.
According to the biodynamics association, "Biodynamics can heal the earth and the human race through spiritual insight and nutrition that can feed the body, mind, and soul." They also explain, "It allows an enlivened relationship to nature, soil, plants, animals, and humans that is modern and creative, and provides great results."
I also love how this article on www.oregonlive.com explains biodynamic farming: "The cornerstone of his philosophy is that the ideal biodynamic farm is a polyculture — a diverse assortment of plants and animals surrounded by a belt of wilderness. The farm should function as a self-contained ecosystem, with no inputs from the outside, while the buffer zone of natural habitat provides plant diversity and predators. After all, a vast expanse planted with a single crop or populated by a single species of animal depletes the soil and invites pests and disease. But diseases and pests are less likely to settle on a property where a variety of crops complement one another, where chickens feast on cutworms and where birds of prey scare off bothersome gophers."
So when you think about a healthier world, will you think about the soil? Will you think about the interconnectedness of nature and all its cooperating elements? I know I am! I have started a biodynamic farm of my own called, "Lavandika," which is one of my contributions to a healthier world and future generations. I am looking forward to continuing it's development and seeing it flourish. Let's make the world a better place together!