Celebrate World Soil Day on Dec. 5

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens staff
Special to the Daily
The ruins of the city and the soil of ancient Palmyra, Syria.
Jim Richardson | National Geographic

World Soil Day was initiated by the United Nations to highlight the importance of soil quality for food security, healthy ecosystems and human well-being. Humans get more than 99.7 percent of their food calories from the land.

Right now, the amount of land that grows crops is about equal to land that has been abandoned by humans because the soil can no longer support agriculture.

A precious resource

Soil is a precious resource that is being eroded away 20 times faster than it can be naturally developed. At the same time, the human population is expected to reach over 9 billion and will need about 50 percent more food by the middle of this century.

Soil and the ability to feed the planet have been passions of National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson, who has traveled the world documenting farmers and their agricultural struggles.

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“I’ve had a rare opportunity to see farming … all over the world,” Richardson said. “What always stands out to me is that soil is overlooked as it is precious. Farmers live by their wits and the storehouse of agricultural knowledge developed over centuries and millennia. Knowledge is the key element in feeding our planet in a sustainable way.”

Richardson will talk about his experiences as a highlight of “Exposed: The Secret Life of Roots” at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in 2019. His photographs will be on display at the Gardens’ Education Center and all four Eagle County public libraries as well. The Gardens will further build on the “roots” theme with exhibits, speakers and workshops throughout 2019.

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