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2015 International Year of Soils


S


oil is the lifeblood of our planet. This year several organizations have gathered together to cele-


brate the 2015 International Year of Soils and raise awareness and promote the sustainability of our limited soil resources. The Soil Science of Amer- ica, United Nations General Assem- bly and the Global Soil Partnership all have websites and information to provide you with resources to learn about soils; our life sustaining natural resource. “We all have a valuable role


in


communicating vital information on soils. Soils are a finite natural resource and are non-renewable on a human time scare. They are the foundation for food, animal feed, fuel and natural fibre production, the supply of clean water, nutrient cycling and a range of ecosystem functions. The area of fertile soils covering the world’s surface is limited and increasingly subject to degradation, poor management and loss to urbanization. Increased aware- ness of the life-supporting functions of soil is called for if this trend is to be reversed and so enable the levels of food production necessary to meet the demands of population levels predict- ed for 2050,” states the Soil Science of America. A new book, Building Soil, soon


to be released by Elizabeth Murphy discusses


this crisis as it relates to


the backyard gardener. This is not a quick garden guide – but a return to patience and seasons-long diligence in the garden. “At the home-scale, soil care is one


of the most basic ways the gardener can have a beneficial environmental impact. Imagine if whole neighbour- hoods were cultivating living, healthy soils. By taking care of the whole soil, they would be creating whole commu- nities that could become increasingly sustainable and connected. “Although productive soils take long time to accumulate in


a long,


nature, we can revitalize our soils relatively quickly by treating soils as living things. This means providing them with food, water, shelter and air, mostly by adding organic matter back to the soil. At the home-scale, this is


38 • Early Spring 2015


all of our “so-called” waste – kitchen scraps, grass trimmings, yard waste, weeds, garden cover crops. If we recy- cle this back to the soil, we feed the living soil. Feeding the living soil means that our gardens become more productive, and more self-sustaining. The bottom-line is that this means less work for us as the gardener,” states Murphy. “We have to change our perspective


and see soils as living things. Soils are living ecosystems, our gardens are living ecosystems, our world is a living ecosystem – everything is connected and interdependent. Not only is it easier to garden this way, but by feeding the soil so that it can take care of itself, it’s more fun to do!” For more information visit the Soil


Science of America’s website soils. org/IYS which is filled with valuable information, educational materials for schools and downloads. The United Nations General Assem-


bly’s website fao.org/globalsoilpartner- ship/iys-2015/en/ also contains signifi- cant articles, videos and information for those wanting to learn more. x


localgardener.net


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