LIVING soil. I first heard that term last summer harvesting elderberries at Honeys Harvest Farm. Isn’t all soil living, I had thought. It was a push for my husband and I to dig deeper into soil health.
In a natural healthy environment the soil is full of microbiology and biodiversity – worms, good bacteria and all kinds of tiny living creatures. These living organisms break down the nutrients by consuming them and basically pooping it out – that poop (somewhere theres a small child laughing at that word) is what makes plants able to use the nutrients in the soil.
Hold that thought – the microbiology of the soil is what makes the soil nutrients available for plants.
What happens when we add things to the soil that kill these organisms?
Unfortunately, commercial farming has a heavy reliance on pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals. These kill this whole microbiome living in the soil. Glyphosate for example (Roundup) has been shown in scientific studies to not only kill the good bacteria in the environment but also in the human gut.
When the soil is no longer healthy and “alive” plants cannot use the nutrients in the soil. The nutrients can be there – but the delicate cycle needed for them to be bioavailable to plants has been disturbed. There is an environmental microbiome just as we have one inside us that helps us with so many vital functions.
This necessitates using fertilizers which damage waterways and ecosystems. A cheap option in commercial farming that is used is human waste which comes from local waste processing plants. It is treated with chemicals first. Just imagine your food growing in that for a quick second.
The good news is so many more farmers are realizing this balance needs to be restored. There are many ways to build healthy soil – and actually these methods are usually more cost effective, better for the environment and better for the people. Better soil means more nutrients in your food!
Attending soil conferences for Million Acre Challenge Maryland has been cool to see that many farmers are actually converting back to using these healthy soil techniques.
This was a long way to say we are very excited to be using methods to build the soil, not use any chemicals and all of these efforts should result in a premium product for you the consumer full of nutrients and healthy harvests from plants in living soil.
While we are still in the thick of planting, we can’t wait to show you our biodynamic soil layers and natural mulch and composting methods soon!