My favorite contemplative practice was from Lesson 8, Soil and Water. I think about soil every day, believe it or not, from the small amount that gathers under my fingernails when I repot my flowers to the large swaths of it that make agriculture possible. When learning about the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway, I thought about what an incredible feat of partnership and community that embodied, and wondered whether such a thing existed for different types of soil. What would that look like? Boxes of soil from around the world stored for later use? “Recipes” for healthy soil that could be utilized when soil health is in danger?
What I discovered is that soil conservation is approached much differently than seed conservation; rather than stockpiling samples for future use, it seems that most conservation methods are implemented into farming practices themselves. Given soil’s rich content, this makes more sense than sample storage. According to Rinkesh Kukreja from Conserve Energy Future, some of the main ways soil is conserved are through preventative measures used in different farming techniques, like no-till farming, crop rotation, and contour plowing, to name a few. One can also rely on earthworms, manure, and providing appropriate microbes for balance and maintaining healthy pH levels. Among the techniques listed on the website, though, I think the most important is the final one listed: the sharing of knowledge. This is the only way we can ensure that the most effective techniques and the ones most widely applicable can be utilized by people all over the world.
Soil is not dirt. It is a complex, tiny ecosystem, and we must respect that and strive for its conservation.
Kukreja, Rinkesh. “What Is Soil Conservation and Methods of Soil Conservation.” Conserve Energy Future, 24 Dec. 2016, www.conserve-energy-future.com/methods-of-soil-conservation.php.
Monahan, Christian. “baby plant.” Organic Lifestyle Magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, 30 July 2013, http://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com/healthy-soil-for-growing-food.