Written by Danielle Nierenberg
Washington, DC – Soil is vital to the health of both people and the planet. Unfortunately, it is often the most overlooked of all agricultural inputs. The U.N. General Assembly declared 2015 the International Year of Soils (IYS) to increase awareness and understanding of the many important roles of soil.
According to The Land Institute, soil is every bit as non-renewable as oil, and it is essential for human survival.
Healthy soil is the foundation for food, fuel, fiber, and medical products, and is a vital part of ecosystems. It stores and filters water, provides resilience to drought, plays an important role in the carbon cycle, and is the foundation of agriculture and food production.
According to plant geneticist and president of The Land Institute Wes Jackson, and farmer and author Wendell Berry, “our present ways of agriculture are not sustainable, and so our food supply is not sustainable. We must restore ecological health to our agricultural landscapes, as well as economic and cultural stability to our rural communities.”
Jackson says we’re plowing through our soil bank account and sending those riches downstream to the ocean. He believes that the loss of topsoil is the single greatest threat to our food supply and to the continued existence of civilization.