10 Facts About Healthy Soil


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The soil is made up of air, water, decayed plant residue, organic matter, and minerals, such as sand, silt, and clay. Increasing soil organic matter typically improves soil health, as this organic matter affects several critical soil functions. Healthy soils are also porous, which allows air and water to move freely through them. This balance ensures a suitable habitat for soil organisms that support growing plants. Franklin Roosevelt’s statement, “The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself,” is as true today as it was 75 years ago.

There are a few easy ways to improve soil health: till the soil as little as possible; grow as many different species of plants as possible through rotations and a diverse mixture of cover crops; keep living plants in the ground as long as possible with crops and cover crops; and maintain the dirt covered with residue year-round.

Food Tank is featuring ten facts about healthy soil that we hope will inspire eaters, businesses, researchers, scientists, funders, donors, and policymakers to create—and support—a more sustainable food system.
 

  1. It takes 2,000 years for natural processes to make 10 centimeters of fertile soil from bedrock. Unfortunately, around 24 billion tons of topsoil are lost every year due to agriculture and erosion, which is over 3 tons per person, according to the Nature Conservancy.

  2. If you want your soil to be healthy, then you should not see it that often, says the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Keeping the soil covered all the time makes sense when you realize that the microorganisms living in the ground need food and protection to survive—just like other living creatures.

  3. According to researchers at the World Agroforestry Centre, maintaining diverse forestry systems—forests that contain different types of trees—is an effective way to keep soil healthy.

  4. Fence rows usually have the healthiest soil on farms. The USDA reports that tillage reduces organic matter content and increases erosion because tilling soil causes pores to collapse and seal over.

  5. The Slow Food Foundation says that one hectare of healthy soil contains 15 tons of organisms, equivalent to the weight of 20 cows.

  6. Healthy soil with high organic matter can store 20 times its weight in water, says FAO. Retaining water is crucial for improving resilience to droughts.

  7. The USDA states that if the top six inches of soil had just one percent of organic matter, then soil could hold approximately 27,000 gallons of water per acre.

  8. According to an article in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, advanced analytical and computational tools suggest that approximately one billion bacterial cells reside in a single gram of soil.

  9. The Status of the World’s Soil Resources, a FAO publication, states that 16 nutrients are essential for plant growth and living organisms in the soil. These nutrients are categorized as either macro- or micro-nutrients. Both categories are crucial for plant development, but macronutrients, like carbon and nitrogen, are the most important.

  10. Lastly, the FAO found that sustainable soil management has the potential to produce up to 58 percent more food!

Joey DeMarco is a research and writing intern for Food Tank.

This article was republished from Food Tank.

See also:
Seven Projects Protecting Soils Around The World
Musings: SOS — Save Our Soil!

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Daily Astrology

November 25, 2017

If you awaken with a great idea illuminating your mind, take note. Mental Mercury is in trine to Uranus, the planet of genius and invention. The sociable Aquarius Moon’s late morning trine with Mars has people eager to share news and get pals on board…
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November 2017

Free admission, 10%-20% discounts! Quality crystals, minerals and jewelry! We have an amazing display of merchandise for your viewing pleasure and purchase. We constantly add new items to our...

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Cape Cod Center for Whole Health
116 State Road
Sagamore Beach, MA
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Here we will gather with those of like mind & spirit to discuss various topics about how intuition and the spiritual world can present itself, and how to make a stronger guide connection....

Cost: $25 per person

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The Studio at One Earth
191 Emery Mills Road
Shapleigh, ME  04076
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January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
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Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
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The new Moon of Sagittarius gives us a sense of security. As such, we may feel more comfortable taking risks this month and stepping out of our comfort zones. Accepting temporary discomfort in...

Cost: Free

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MGH at Charlestown Navy Yard
Building 114, Room D1
114 16th Street
Charlestown, MA  02129
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Cost: $1300

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Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
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Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
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The Daoist Benevolent Association offers free classes on traditional Wudang style tai chi. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Brown School
42 Milk St Newburyport
Newburyport, MA  01950
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Sponsor: Daoist Benevolent Association
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Nancy's therapeutic and healing nature stems from her own personal journey through health struggles. Her style is open to everyone, no matter physical or mental challenges, or age....

Cost: $15 drop in or $12 with 10 class bundle

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HeartSong Spiritual Wellness
23 Pine Street
Milford, MA  01757
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Cost: $1300

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Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
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Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
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Cost: Free

Where:
Brown School
42 Milk St Newburyport
Newburyport, MA  01950
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Sponsor: Daoist Benevolent Association
Telephone: 978-462-4617
Contact Name: Barbara
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A unique divine healing meditation, lead by Bhavna, to help you in your life; with your relationships, money, work and family. Also, the meditation helps with letting go to release...

Cost: $10

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512 Main St.
Penthouse Suite
Shrewsbury, MA  01545
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Sponsor: Bhavna’s Wellness Group
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Cost: $110/month

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Boston Ultimate Fitness
72 Beach Street (4th Floor)
Boston, MA  02111
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Sponsor: Daoist Gate Wudang Arts
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Cost: 8 Weeks, $49.95

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WeWork
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Boston, MA  02116
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Sponsor: Kabbalah Center
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Women of Wisdom
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Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
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Cost: $10

Where:
Bhavna’s Wellness Group
512 Main St.
Penthouse Suite
Shrewsbury, MA  01545
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Sponsor: Bhavna’s Wellness Group
Telephone: 508-970-5620
Contact Name: Krista Bennett
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Weekly yoga classes with Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN of Harmony Way on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM and Fridays at 9:30 AM at the Wilbraham Senior Center. Class welcomes all ages and uses a...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
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Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
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Are you ready to embrace more self-compassion and nurturing into your life? Take the plunge now! This 6 week group will weave yoga, creative arts, meditation, journaling and...

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Mendon, MA  01756
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Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
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Cost: $5

Where:
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45 Post Office Park, #4502
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Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
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Cost: $110/month

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