There's so much to celebrate during this time of year. But have you stopped to think about where your holiday dinner comes from? Today, December 5, let's take a moment to celebrate the amazing resource that makes all of our holiday feasts possible-- soil. Happy World Soil Day!
In honor of World Soil Day, here are five signs of healthy soil:
- You can't see healthy soil. One of the surest signs of healthy soil is that it's hidden from plain sight, protected from the elements by natural armor. "No-till" farmers build healthy soil by planting directly into the stubble from the previous year's crop instead of plowing up the soil. The stubble acts like an armor, protecting soil from erosion and preserving soil structure.
Unfortunately, these signs of healthy soil are missing on many acres of our farmland. Only about a third of U.S. farmland is no-till, and less than 2% of acres in the upper Mississippi River Basin use cover crops. As a result, we've allowed much of our soil to become degraded, sick, and unproductive. Fortunately, soils can be regenerated. Programs like a "good driver" crop insurance discount for farmers who invest in regenerating their soil can help give our soils, and the farmers who care for them, the respect they deserve.
This post originally appeared on NRDC's Switchboard blog.