In my weekly update from the Organic Consumers Association, a new documentary on the life within the soil was announced. Symphony of the Soil by Lily Films is available on DVD with $5 of the purchase price going to the OCA. I am hoping to buy a copy to show my support for continued production of beautiful, artistic, scientific documentaries addressing the crisis our planet faces with continued industrial farming practices.
I rarely promote anything on this blog, and I do not receive any financial remuneration for promoting this documentary.
The idea that our planet’s soil is a living organism is not new. Native Americans identified its life-giving force. Organic farmers and gardeners have identified the health benefits of cultivating this life through responsible farming practices: composting, the use of manure, limited machine cultivation, crop rotation, limited use of pesticides, growing cover crops or green manure, and even allowing fields to rest.
In my own little garden beds, I attempt to adhere to organic gardening guidelines even when production is greatly decreased. Why? I want my little piece of property to be a refuge for worms, snakes, birds, wildlife, and microorganisms. Imagine that microorganisms must have a refuge created for them in this modern age of chemical, pesticide and herbicide use as well as genetically engineered crops that pose a threat to the continuation of open-pollinated, heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in RoundUp, kills. It kills broadleaf plants and it kills microorganisms in the soil. I haven’t done much research on Dow’s version, 2,4-D, yet. But the latest round of GMO seed applications going through the FDA are mostly those that would utilize that herbicide as many weeds have become resistant to glyphosate (Dow admits weed-resistence to glyphosate in this press release).
What can homeowners do to encourage life in their soil? Stop using any kind of herbicide. Pull weeds by hand. It is good exercise and you touch the life of the earth (did you know there are microorganisms in the soil that can benefit human digestion and immune systems?). You can then compost those green things to further feed and replenish life in your soil. It is such a delightful system: plant grows and produces oxygen, feeds bees (dandelions, clover, wild violets and even invasive ground ivy); plant dies and feeds the soil after it breaks down.
As a little motivation, in the future, homes that can advertise the use of organic ground care practices might be more enticing than chemical laden, pristine green park-like perfections. Just like having green, energy efficient heating and cooling systems and appliances is attractive to prospective buyers, the same might be said for attracting healthy, green families who want clean, healthy soil for their children to play on and to grow their own food. Just a thought.
Happy Sunday, folks!