Healthy soil leads to healthy food
It is World Soil Day today. The World Soil Day campaign by FAO
aims to raise awareness on its importance in our lives.
At Wessanen, we focus on food that is good for people and for the planet. In most cases, foods which benefit our own health are also better for the planet, and vice versa.
As soil is the natural resource that ultimately sustains all life on land and determines global food production, we have to improve soil health in a sustainable way. Only healthy soil can fulfill essential functions: It provides plants with foothold for their roots and holds the necessary nutrients for them to grow. Soil filters the rainwater, protects the groundwater quality and is capable of storing large amounts of organic carbon.
95% of our food comes from our soil
But nowadays soil is a threatened natural resource. Overexploitation, overgrazing and unsuitable land use have resulted in some serious issues:
The main causes of soil acidification are for example long term rainfall, excessive application of fertilizers, deforestation and land use practices that remove all harvested materials.
Soil biodiversity loss
Soils host about a quarter of earth’s biodiversity. Its decline affects plant diversity, nutrient retention, plant and animal health and greenhouse gas emissions.You can read more about biodiversity and organic farming here
A higher soil density interferes soil functions and impedes root penetration and water and gas exchange.Soil contaminationToxic compounds in soils have negative effects on human health. Soil contamination can reduce food security by decreasing crop yields and rendering crops unsafe for consumption.
Increase in water-soluble salts in soil negatively affects plant growth, reduces crop yields and can make soils unproductive.
A nutrient depleted soil cannot produce food that contains macro and micronutrient necessary for human health.
Soil organic carbon loss
Decline of organic carbon stock in the soil affects its fertility status and climate change regulation capacity. Soil erosionAccelerated removal of topsoil from the land surface through water, wind, or tillage. If the current trend of soil erosion remains unchanged the total annual production potential is projected to be reduced by 10% by 2050.
You can read more about soil threats here
Sustainable soil management must be promoted in order to achieve healthy
soils for healthy food and healthy people. Organic farming practices such as
crop rotations, inter-cropping and symbiotic associations are vital to
maintaining and improving the soil. Furthermore, cover crops, organic
fertilisers, manuring and minimum tillage are organic processes that encourage
soil fauna and flora, and therefore soil biodiversity.
In 2015 our
Organic day took place with the theme: ‘Let’s celebrate soil'.