A teaspoon of soil contains 7+ billion organisms …
Hard to imagine isn’t it? And when you take onboard that 95% of our food comes from soil, you soon realise how precious it is! Soil is key to the future of farming and food production. Unfortunately, worldwide, we’re doing a terrible job of looking after it.
Imagine your soil as a bank full of nutrients. Conventional farming first depletes the soil of these nutrients and then replaces them with the short term fix of chemicals, damaging the soil and leaving it devoid of life. An overdrawn bank account with no plan of how to repay.
Organic farming looks to naturally replenish and recycle the soil through crop rotations and green manures, which in turn helps create a vibrant, thriving ecosystem beneath our feet. Healthy soil and, more importantly, good management to minimise the loss of top soil, play an important role in both carbon locking (up to 10 billion tonnes globally), and processing and releasing carbon through a healthy carbon cycle.
At The Farm, we minimise bare soil through a careful combination of sowing green manures throughout the year, and planting clover in between rows of plantings. Planting clover between the beds not only reduces top soil erosion, but helps improve soil health.
We strongly believe a healthy ecosystem starts with healthy soil. Not only does it benefit the wildlife and ensure we are doing our bit to create healthy soil, it also improves the yields of our plants.
There is a common misbelief that organic and agro-ecological farming is significantly less productive than conventional farms. This is not true. Longer term organic farms (10years +) show that the successful management of soil systems, in line with organic principles, leads to increased stability of acidity, improved soil food webs and increased organic matter, when compared to conventional farming. This results in more consistent, resilient crops, and increases in yields.
In six years At The Farm, working this way, we have seen our yields almost double as a result of good crop planning, fertility building and healthy soil management.
It all begins with good soil…
- Improve your soil - https://www.soilassociation.org/farmers-growers/technicalinformation/improve-your-soil/
- Seven ways to save our soils - https://www.soilassociation.org/media/4672/7-ways-to-save-our-soils-2016.pdf
- Living soils - https://www.soilassociation.org/media/6263/living-soils-a-call-to-action-2015.pdf
- Soil health blogs - https://www.soilassociation.org/farmers-growers/technicalinformation/improve-your-soil/greatsoils/greatsoils-blogs/
- https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/801515/ncc-advice-soil-management.pdf -