Nourish, a national educational initiative designed to open a meaningful conversation about food and sustainability, particularly in schools and communities, has launched their Video Encyclopedia, a collection of short films that explore the story of our food. In the above clip, author Michael Pollan describes how the simple act of eating offers us an intimate connection with the soil. From supporting organic farms to gardening and composting, we can nourish the Earth through our everyday food choices and practices.
The Dirt on Soil
Fertile soil is essential to food production. Soil consists of minerals, water, air, and living and dead organic matter, which are all needed to support healthy plants. Through natural processes, it can take hundreds to thousands of years to form one inch of nutrient-rich, organic topsoil.
It is estimated that a cup of fertile topsoil contains more than 6 billion organisms, or as many people as there are on Earth. Five to 10 tons of animal life inhabit an acre of soil, including bacteria, fungi, protozoa, earthworms, mice, moles, and other creatures.
Soil depletion, or loss of fertility, occurs when nutrients are taken from the soil but not replaced. Over-tilling, monocrop farming, and use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides deplete the soil, leading to a loss of organic matter and soil structure. According to the United Nations, we lose about 75 tons of soil each year. Loss of soil means less food.