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International Year of Soils

2015 is the UN’s International Year of Soils.

Now, you might be feeling year/month/day celebration exhaustion. I know I am. According to the Wikipedia listing of commemorative months (yep, that’s a thing) there are 8 different themes to March, from colon cancer to frozen food (that one has to be a joke, right?). March also has Pi day, but two days later is also has artichoke hearts day, with oatmeal cookie day two days after that, and on and on it goes. It’s all a bit much and I tend to brush off most of them.

However, the UN has designated this the Year of Soils for a very good reason. Our food depends on it! No more banana cream pie day if soils can’t support banana plantations anymore. Here’s a snazzy infographic from the UN:

The number that really sticks out to me is that 33% of soils worldwide are degraded. That’s a lot, especially when you consider the time it takes to make soil (up to 1000 years just to get 1cm deep soil). When almost all the food we eat depends on the soil, we could be in big trouble!

The good news is that last number in the infographic – a 58% increase in crop yield with proper soil management. Obviously that is going to vary hugely depending on location, crop, and condition of the soil but the point is we can make more food by caring for our soils.

So take a minute to read over the infographic and get acquainted with soils. The more people know about soils the more people will care about soils and the more care we collectively can take of our soils.

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