Sustainable Soils at the UW Farm

Seeing as I missed the actual quiz section day in which we formed our action groups, I’ll admit that I was a little nervous as to who I would be teamed up with. To my pleasant surprise, I was put in a group whose passion for sustainable soils mirrored my own. I was so taken with everyone’s excitement towards the project and the subject, and I felt especially welcomed. While our original action project never came to fruition, I’d say our scaled-back version was just as successful and meaningful.

Our group began by thinking what audience we could gear our soil project towards, and grade-school-age children came to mind. We figured it would be a fun opportunity to help teach kids about the importance of soils at a younger age. Surely, what kid doesn’t want to play with dirt? Even more exciting was the possibility of getting in touch was a representative from TAGRO, a waste management service in Tacoma, who could come teach the kids about how our waste can be turned into fertile soil for farming! It all sounded optimal in a mildly gross but kid-centric way, but in the favor of time and resources, we had to change up our project. Our original idea seems completely feasible and I can imagine it being a successful field trip idea someday.

Instead, we settled on making a Facebook event that would invite people to come to join us at the UW Farm on Memorial Day to learn about our project. In doing this, we figured we’d have a better opportunity to actually make an impact on students like ourselves who are concerned with the environmental impacts of our current food production model. It definitely lent itself to more time for active discussion, which was probably the biggest takeaway from this whole event. Each of our four group members talked about a global implication of sustainable soils that they were passionate about; Andrea led with the current capitalist and Enlightenment ideals that have led to our current food system, Claire followed by discussing sustainable agricultural practices, Yuki then explained the soybean commodity chain, and I concluded with the effect of soil runoff and erosion on fisheries and overall ocean health.

In conclusion, it was extremely refreshing to work with a group of such passionate individuals. Seeing as we hosted on Memorial Day, we didn’t have a very large audience, but everyone was still engaged and interested in the topic. I think our project would be beneficial on a larger scale as well, perhaps tabling on campus sometime so that people can come up willingly to explore the implications for sustainable soils. However, it was definitely more powerful hosting on the UW Farm, because it made everything so much more personal.

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