2015 is the International Year of Soils. In supporting all organic farmers, Locally Delicious helps to create a sustainable local food system which we hope contributes to our region’s overall health. Organic farming considers the soil in which the food is grown. [Certified organic farmers fill out pages of paperwork and pay fees, but all organic farmers regularly build the soil.]
Why is soil so important? Soils are the home to a quarter of Earth’s biodiversity. Organisms living in the soil are responsible for interactions that contribute to the interdependent web and cycles of nature that support all existence. In short, dirt sustains life.
Healthy soil contains more than earthworms! There are various types of nematodes, mites, insects, fungi, bacteria and actinomycetes.
As plant matter decomposes, root-feeding nematodes, fungi and bacteria are fed. These in turn feed shredding arthropods, protozoa and fungal and bacterial feeding nematodes. These life forms feed predator nematodes and arthropods, which then become food for birds and small mammals. This completes the cycle of ecological activity as the birds and mammals re-seed and fertilize the plants.
Each creature performs some important duties in keeping the soil healthy. Of course they maintain soil structure by aiding in decomposition of vegetable matter. But they are also essential in nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, soil detoxification and suppression of soil parasites and diseases. They form symbiotic relationships with plants, control plant growth and are sources for food and medicine.
For this reason, any interference with the soil structure or the organisms dependent upon the soil can have unwanted consequences over time. Misuse and overuse of chemical fertilizers and other agro-chemicals degrades the soil, as does the clearing of forest or grassland, exposing the bare soil.
Learn more about soil here:
Locally Delicious, inc. is a non-profit organization engaged in educational activities that deal with the benefits of eating locally grown, organic food. We create and work on projects designed to support the increased production of local organic food, with an emphasis on making that food accessible to all. We advocate for a healthy and sustainable local food system.