Every year the General Assembly of the United Nations designates a focal point which they feel challenges the world to recognize a crucial situation. I feel this particular year the UN, declaring in 2012 that Cooperatives were that focal point, in 2013 Water, in 2014 Family Farming, and now Soil, has hit a home run.
That is because there is no closer connection between our bodies and our ecosystem than the ground we are standing on. All our food, no matter what it is, starts in the ocean or in the ground. The health of the soil is something everyone ought to be concerned with.
I think we at the Co-op know that all our farmers love and respect the soil as much as anyone. We are all glad the United Nations is calling it out. Soil, like air and water, is connected in a way that we can’t see with the naked eye, but the connection is there nonetheless. So if you directly commit to improving any soil anywhere, all soil everywhere is improved.
One way you can improve your sensory experience about soil is to head for the woods. Get in the soil in some trees, scoop aside the leaf litter, scratch up some soil with the nearest tool you can find, and smell it. It’s hard to describe, but most folks seem to settle on “earthy.”
One of our vendors, Purple Cow Organics, makes great compost and it smells a great deal like soil. It isn’t because it has all the dead, decaying organic matter; what you really smell is the life.
How alive is your soil? Have you ever thought about it this way? Soil, under normal conditions, is a teeming, endless, thriving community of living organisms. To our eye it looks pretty much dead, but that is completely wrong.
We sell stuff like Purple Cow (leaf matter-based) and West Star (manure-based) compost to get your garden off to a great start. And it’s seedling time!
And we are ready to help you with the seeds! They are in and ready for you to get going under lights or in the window.
Here is an article mentioning the UN declaration; it’s a nice blog to explore: http://organicmattersblog.com/2014/12/29/pay-dirt-lets-celebrate-2015-as-international-year-of-the-soil/
And here is an interesting way to grab some soil microorganisms and create your own little soil critter farm! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCBJ0rXwILY
There are some wonderful books about soil. One of my favorites is Secrets of the Soil by Peter Thompkins and Christopher Byrd. In this book, which continues from a great book about plants Thompkins wrote earlier, you learn how alive and dynamic soil really is.