Hot on the heels of yesterdays post, I came across this great piece by Lynne Peeples. Somewhere in the near past we traded away our relationship with nature (and all the health benefits that it entails) for convenience.
He knows the rich, organic soil will provide Sedge and Ojiah with delicious, nutrient-rich food. Not to mention a possible boost to their immune systems.
His sons have their favorites. “Carrots are up there and consumed after a brush with the shirt sleeve. But spinach in winter seems to be the prize,” said Algiere, the farm manager at Stone Barns Center For Food and Agriculture. “With most greens, they prefer to graze — no hands — rather than pick.”
Perhaps most importantly, Algiere knows that toxic fertilizers and pesticides will not have touched the carrots or spinach, and therefore can’t pose any risks to his sons’ health.
“Thanks to our improved understanding of the dynamics of soil, the luster of chemical agriculture has worn off,” Algiere said. He once worked farmland the conventional way, but said he has since learned that nature really does know best when it comes to warding off unwanted weeds and insects, and feeding a plant what it needs to thrive.
Nature’s secret: healthy soil, composed of billions of tiny creatures that essentially become a plant’s immune and digestive systems.
But despite the way Algiere manages Stone Barns, many people are acting as soil spoilers, according to a new documentary called “Symphony of the Soil.” Our chemical dependencies are stripping soil of its life-giving duties and turning it into lifeless dirt, the film says. We’ve destroyed half the world’s topsoil in the last 50 years, and a quarter of what’s left is degraded. Experts in the film suggest that this loss is contributing to a range of today’s ills: flooding, droughts, toxic algae blooms, contaminated drinking water, cancer, developmental problems, antibiotic-resistant infections, obesity and more.
“The connection between healthy soil and healthy people is so obvious,” said Deborah Koons Garcia, director and producer of the film, which screened last weekend at Stone Barns.
So, when and how did we lose sight of such a vital relationship? And can we find it again?
More information about Symphony Of The Soil can be found at http://www.symphonyofthesoil.com/ along with some extremely moving vignettes or grace notes from the film. I have embedded one below I find particularly pertinent.