Soil is at the heart and soul of our planet. Put simply, we can't live without it.
Despite the fact that healthy soil remains crucial for food production, flood defences and our ability to tackle climate change, we don’t look after it. The good news is, we can all do something to help protect soils.
As Lady Eve Balfour, founder of the Soil Association, believed - the health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible.
Soil is a combination of minerals, organic matter, air, water and living organisms. We need it to sustain life.
But our soils are degrading at an alarming rate. We have taken soil for granted and now one-third of the world’s arable soils are degraded. The situation becomes even more urgent when we consider that it can take a thousand years for just one centimetre of topsoil to form.
Not only do soils help combat climate change, they also help reduce the effects of climate change.
Healthy well managed soils capture carbon dioxide and store it as soil organic carbon. In the UK, our soils hold an estimated 9.8 billion tonnes of carbon, making them an essential resource in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and tackling climate change.
95% of the food that we eat comes from soil. Without lots of healthy soil it would be impossible for farmers to produce food for us.
Essentially, feeding the world starts, and ends, with healthy soil.
Healthy soil is essential for water storage and preventing floods and droughts.
Healthy soil stores water so that crops have a longer life when a drought kicks in and improves water quality by filtering out pollutants.
Healthy soil also has better soil structure and can reduce soil erosion through water damage.
Saving our soil is not only necessary but absolutely urgent. We are committed to improving soil health, but what are we doing to make this happen?
1. Working with farmers to come up with practical solutions
We are working with farmers on the ground to test changes to their farming methods that will improve their soil
2. Lobbying the government
Soil is a fundamental environmental resource and should be given at least the same level of protection as water and air and we need the Government to write soil policies that safeguard UK soils effectively
3. Encouraging farmers to adopt organic principles
The methods to help save our soils that we suggest for farmers are used in organic systems. By encouraging all farmers to adopt organic principles we can take a positive step towards saving our soil.
Whether it's using a gardening fork, a pen, or your debit card, we can all do something to help conserve soil at home.
Here are five ways you can take action...
Every purchase we make is a vote for a system of producing food. Organic farms have been found to have, on average, 20% more organic matter in the soil. By buying organic you are voting for a system that is working towards achieving soil health.
We have reached the point of no return and we desperately need your support to continue working with farmers, policymakers, and businesses to save our Soil. Find out how you can help
The variety of life in our soils is amazing. Just one teaspoon of soil contains around 10,000 different species. This variety of life is essential to life on Earth. Meet the unsung heroes living under our feet.
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