NEWS Soil connects us to the Earth – The Food Pot

Soil connects us to the Earth - The Food Pot

#WorldSoilDay 2022 raised awareness that maintaining soil health is critical to human well-being and healthy ecosystems.

Where does the food come from?

Food starts with soil.

Did you know that, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 95% of our food is produced directly or indirectly from the soil?

We are all connected to the earth.

The cornerstone of agriculture is soil. Crops grow in the soil and then nourish humans, domesticated animals, and even aquaculture, tying our entire food system to the soil. Vital nutrients and minerals that plants need to grow are stored and cycled in the soil, which is the plant’s storeroom. Without good soil, farmers cannot provide us with feed, fiber, food and fuel. Healthy soil is the foundation of plants, supporting roots and keeping plants standing upright, just like the foundation of a house is important. To build and strengthen the base, we must protect the soil and fresh water.

Our life support system is the soil. Roots attach to soil, which stores water and minerals. According to the USDA, “every 1 percent increase in organic farmland in the United States could store the amount of water that would flow over Niagara Falls in 150 days.” That’s a lot of water! Soils are living, biodiverse ecosystems, home to earthworms and termites, as well as a host of microorganisms that fix nitrogen and decompose organic matter.

Human life would be impossible without soil, which provides many services in addition to food, feed, fuel and fibre. Soil absorbs and controls the discharge of rainwater, preventing flooding. Soils store vast amounts of organic carbon (estimated at 250 billion tons) and may help mitigate climate change; today, they remove nearly 25 percent of the world’s annual emissions from fossil fuels. Soil filters pollutants and protects the quality of groundwater. Soil provides many necessary building and manufacturing materials; clay, for example, makes bricks for our homes, but also plates and coffee mugs; clay also serves as a record of previous environmental conditions.

The general properties of soils, known as “soil function,” are critical for a wide range of agricultural, environmental, conservation, landscape architecture, and urban uses. Degradation of our soils and loss of organic matter is a threat. Today, we must work to protect healthy soils, which provide farmers and plants with better crop yields and stress resilience, respectively.

Today, we join the world in celebrating World Soil Day. Let’s protect and sustain our soil and environment.

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Photo courtesy of onehundredseventyfive, no splash

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