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14 things you might not know about soil

14 facts about soil

Have you ever stopped to consider just how amazing soil is?

Despite being right beneath our feet, it is something that is often overlooked or taken for granted.

With a name like Soil Association, it will come as no surprise that we think soil is a pretty big deal! It’s one of the most important things on the planet, it’s magical and mysterious and we still have so much to learn about it

soil in hand

But here’s what we do know… We’ve compiled 14 fabulous facts about soil and, after reading them, we’re sure you’ll want to join us in protecting this precious resource. 

  1. A world without soil? Impossible! Soil is vital for life to exist and without it, we wouldn’t be here

  2. Soil is as old as time. Meteorites that date from the birth of the solar system include clay minerals that made up our earliest soils

  3. Soil is home to a quarter of all known species on the Earth

  4. In just one tablespoon of soil, you’ll find more than seven billon organisms – that’s more than the amount of people on the planet!

  5. Only about 1% of the microorganisms found in soil have been identified (we told you it was mysterious!)

  6. Soil is made up of three main things: organic matter, minerals and organisms

  7. Healthy soils have six different layers that begin with organic matter and topsoil and end with bedrock

  8. It can take up to 1,000 years for just 1cm of topsoil to form

  9. 95% of the food we eat comes from the soil – we’d be pretty hungry without it!

  10. Without healthy soil, we won’t be able to feed the world

  11. Soil stores more carbon than all the world’s forests

  12. Healthy soil helps to prevent floods and drought. This special stuff can store one and a half Olympic swimming pools full of water per hectare

  13. Sadly, every minute we lose the equivalent of 30 football pitches of fertile soil. And the situation is getting worse

So you see, our soils are our superheroes. But they need our help.

We must save our soils so that we can feed the world, combat climate change by storing carbon, and store water to prevent flood and drought.  

Want to save our soils?


Find out more about what we’re doing to protect our vital soils, as well as simple ways you can get involved, by checking out our Save Our Soils Campaign.

While you’re here…

…we’ve got a small favour to ask. As a charity we rely on fundraising to do our vital work. We champion a world where people, farm animals and nature can thrive – and we’ve made huge steps forward working with farmers, growers and researchers to find pioneering and practical solutions to today’s farming challenges. But there’s so much more to be done.

You can help change the way we farm and eat for good. If everyone who visits our website and cares about the food they eat and how it’s been produced, makes a small contribution today, we can do more of the work that really matters.

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