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The Future of Our Food System Depends on Healthy Soils — and Policies That Support Soil Stewardship

Healthy soils are the foundation of a healthy food system. These soils teem with life: earthworms create water channels as the burrow through the soil, allowing rain to soak in; residues from previous crops help soil retain moisture, suppress weeds, and prevent erosion and runoff; microorganisms help filter contaminates and form the glue that helps keep soil intact; and cover crops—second crops planted to protect and improve soil health during the off-season—deliver natural fertilizer to the soil, prevent erosion, increase biodiversity, and improve water filtration as their roots create pores in the soil. Together, all of this works to create healthier crops.

From civileats.com:

Healthy soils are the foundation of a healthy food system. These soils teem with life: earthworms create water channels as the burrow through the soil, allowing rain to soak in; residues from previous crops help soil retain moisture, suppress weeds, and prevent erosion and runoff; microorganisms help filter contaminates and form the glue that helps keep soil intact; and cover crops—second crops planted to protect and improve soil health during the off-season—deliver natural fertilizer to the soil, prevent erosion, increase biodiversity, and improve water filtration as their roots create pores in the soil. Together, all of this works to create healthier crops.

Healthy soils also help farmers become more resilient to extreme weather. When farming practices degrade soil health, farmers often turn to chemically-intensive inputs like pesticides, artificial fertilizers, and increased irrigation to replace the weed-suppressing, nutrient-providing, and moisture maintaining qualities healthy soil naturally provides. This can lead to damaging health and environmental outcomes.

- See more at: http://civileats.com/2013/08/27/the-future-of-our-food-system-depends-on-healthy-soils-and-policies-that-support-soil-stewardship/

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