December 5, 2022 is World Soil Day – Give me all the dirt!
Many kids go through a dirt-eating phase. Fortunately, they grow out of it, but consider this: healthy rich soil is the foundation of every bite we take. Plant growth and nutrients depend largely on the organic matter in soil. The organic matter, water, and air are all essential components of the eco-system and must be replenished; farmers in Ontario and around the world work to ensure that the foundation of growing food is not depleted and that their crops remain healthy. Quality, healthy food literally starts from the ground up.
Before farmers plant one seed, they nurture their soil to give their crops a solid foundation to flourish. Ontario farmers protect our environment by protecting the soil. They do it with sustainable farming practices; reducing and preventing soil erosion, leaching, and runoff; keeping field edges wild and grassy; and planting cover crops.
And guess what?! Soil is alive! The living organisms that live in, thrive, and grow as part of our soil, keep the soil healthy. If you’re into details, you’ll like to know soil organisms include archaea (micro-organisms), actinomycetes (bacteria), fungi, algae, protozoa, and soil organisms such as earthworms, ants, and insects. You may like to check out our fun Draw with Rob series where we explore what’s happening beneath our feet (includes a free educator resource to download).
The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations initiated World Soil Day because many parts of the world have not committed to protecting the soil. Their campaign “aims to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems” to promote soil awareness. Here at home, we can learn—and teach—that there is more to soil than meets the eye, that soil is worth preserving, and that we can be part of the solution to soil erosion and degradation.