Letter: On June 23, think soil
On June 23, 2008, the U.S. Congress signed a bipartisan resolution to support soil life as a vital natural resource. Yet, in the last decade alone, we have developed and contaminated millions of acres of valuable soil in this country — about the size of the state of Iowa — according to the American Farmland Trust.
On June 23, 2019, we at Acres U.S.A. are starting National Soil Health Day with organizations, businesses and nonprofits across the country. On and around this day, we will bring more awareness to the challenges soil professionals — farmers, forest managers, water quality experts and landscapers — are trying to solve today. We are asking everyone who cares about healthy food, sustainable forests, water quality and building resilience to natural disasters and climate change to sign a resolution to show support for soil health, soil life and soil vitality.
Why is soil important? Not only have peer-reviewed scientific journals tied soil health with more nutritious food, they have connected the dots to a much wider array of public benefits, including stronger economies, more resilient ecosystems, and a healthier population.
One of the biggest challenges we face is climate change, and the pollution of our atmosphere with carbon dioxide. Generating more soil health and soil life must be one of the solutions. As acknowledged by the United Nations in 2015 and independent studies around the world, when we introduce unnecessary toxins into our environments, we change the soil chemistry, and by doing so, paralyze the microbial soil life that can repurpose carbon into nutritious food and thriving ecosystems. This is just one way soil health can help improve our world.
Colorado and our local communities are positioned to be leaders in a new era of agriculture, where we rebuild local food marketplaces and restore a nutritious food supply. This movement is already happening today. In Colorado alone, more than 170,000 acres of farmland are certified organic, and thousands of more acres are being farmed in sustainable, ecological ways. We should all be proud to live in a state with so many industrious, creative farmers growing our food, dedicated managers caring for our public lands, and caring citizens who feel responsible to the next generation. The future really does depend on our actions, and the soil under our feet.
Sign the resolution at http://www.acresusa.com/soil-health-day.
Ryan Slabaugh, Publisher of Acres U.S.A.