Soil and food security

Why the soil under our feet is so damn important

How come no one talks about soil?

There’s always a lot of discussion about water, about energy, about wildlife, about air. All good. But it’s always been very quiet on the soil front.

But now, finally, it seems soil is up on the agenda.

The global Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has got started with a series of excellent films. In English at this point, unless there are translations lurking in other languages.

The first posted below is on the subject of soil organic carbon — “The treasure under our feet”. A great title that underlines the thing that is so overwhelmingly important here: that one our greatest assets on earth is just that which is lying on the ground. Brown and invisible, for the most part.

Putting carbon  back into the soil is one of the most important things we can do on the planet just now. The word “carbon” represents everything that has been living at some point, whether it’s food waste, harvest residues, natural manures, green manure (plants grown to feed the soil). Whatever. Just as long as we get into the habit of giving back at least as much as we take. And even a little more; we’ve been harvesting, removing and degrading enormous volumes of soil these last decades with little or no reflection.

To give back. Each and every bokashi bucket we dig down into the soil is actually a step in the right direction. We put carbon back into the soil; it makes a difference.

And that is precisely what the FAO is challenging us to — to take care of the treasure under our feet.

It’s not enough, obviously. But the more of us who get involved with bokashi, who challenge our neighbors, colleagues and relatives to get started, the bigger difference we make. And often, when you start with bokashi, you become more aware of food waste in general. That everything is connected becomes more obvious when you have to toss something that, with slightly better planning, could have been eaten up.

Have a look at these films. Any chance you can show any of them at school, at some association you’re active in, in a community education group, at work? It’s time we dare to talk about soil! To get people thinking about it, discussing it, doing something.

A lot of little efforts will ultimately become a lot. And however dark it seems, we are on the right track. One bucket at a time….

About the treasure under our feet — soil.

About why soil is so super important.

About soil and how it disappears. It’s not sure we really grasp how much is constantly being lost.

About food wastage, globally. The volumes are just so sorrowfully large. What can we do?

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