Friday, October 24, 2008

Invest in the Soil...

Our current economic downturn continues to reveal deeper trouble in the global economy; many solutions that will help us ease out of the current recession are being discussed at this weekend's Bioneers by the Bay Conference hosted by the city of New Bedford. I'll be joining a panel on Saturday focusing on green jobs: "Green Careers and Creating Eco-Equity in the Green Economy", 1:30 PM at the Whaling Museum in New Bedford.

I believe that investment in human and natural capital will play an integral role in a transition toward an economy built on real wealth (see recent post "50 Million Farmers Needed"). This future economy will be a contrast to the recent global economy that has led us into the current crisis; one built on consumption, debt, and depletion of our natural resources.

Invest in the soil: on the farm, in the backyard, on rooftop gardens; wherever food is or can be grown.

Remineralize and reenergize depleted soils with nutrients needed for optimum plant growth. Don't limit our fertilizers and amendments to Nitrogen, Phospherous, and Potassium (N,P,K); instead we need to emphasize the importance of Calcium as well as Sufur, Magnesium, "minor nutrients" and "trace elements" to provide the full spectrum of nutrients that soil biology demands.To learn more about efforts to grow and promote nutrient dense foods check out the Real Food Campaign's website.
Refocus on building vibrant soil biology that will: make these nutrients available to the roots of our plants, create and maintain a healthy soil structure, prevent the loss of soil organic matter.

Production of nutritious fruits and vegetables that will nourish our bodies. Growing healthy food is real wealth creation that works with nature to build on the natural capital that we must steward for future generations.

Sounds simple, emphasize and focus on one of our most important resources, our soils, right? But a recent article "Drought Resistance is the Goal..." illustrates how our society focuses on technology (genetic engineering and plant breeding) as a solution to current and future agricultural problems. Personally, I feel this narrow focus on technological solution results from a focus on corporate profits; who will profit from healthy soils? Not agribusiness. Healthy soil will build profit for farmers and gardeners, a stable profit for generations to come.

If you haven't read the recent New York Times Magazine article written by Michael Pollan, "Farmer in Chief", I would encourage you to do so. Pollan once again does an admiral job of emphasizing the importance of sustainable agricultural production ("the original solar power") as part of the solution to our energy crisis and problems related to climate change.

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