To increase awareness and understanding of just how important soil is to the health of humans and ecosystems, the U.N. General Assembly declared 2015 the International Year of Soils (IYS). And over at SFC, we couldn’t agree more! Healthy soil is vital for food production, plays an important role in the carbon cycle, stores and filters water, and provides resilience in drought conditions. Ask any farmer – soil is the foundation to successfully growing food! We need soil, and in turn, soil needs us to be responsible in how we manage and use it.
One of the objectives of the IYS is to educate the public about the ways soil affects food security. This is a topic near and dear to SFC, as we aim to strengthen community food security through a variety of ways, including growing food using sustainable methods in close proximity to where it is consumed. Because Central Texas already suffers from drought and soil degradation, it’s important for gardeners to know how to build healthy, fertile, nutrient-rich soil for food gardens, manage this soil wisely, and use inputs that cause the least amount of harm. Studies also show that the nutritional quality of fruits and vegetables is directly linked to soil health, yet how often do we consider dirt when we think about daily vitamins and minerals?
As you start planning your spring gardens, let’s continue the soil conversation. Our upcoming Soil Health class will help you prepare your food garden by learning how to assess soil quality, understand what types of plants work best in different soil structures, and amend soil to make sure it is a healthy foundation for growing food.
Be sure to sign up for the Get Growing: Soil Health class on January 17 to dig deeper into learning about soil! We hope to see you there.