May 22 is the start of Global Soil Week 2017, which will focus on the implementation and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the perspective of soil and land. As policymakers gather in Berlin, they will be exploring how the investment in soil benefits poverty reduction, food security, climate change adaption, and biodiversity protection. Our understanding of our connection to the soil is at the root of how we can contribute and catalyze the SDG implementation.
Below is an excerpt from Alice Cunningham’s latest article that talks about the connection between soil health and human health published on The Huffington Post.
‘From the soil we have come, to the soil we shall go and from the soil we want to live,’ wrote Marcelin Albert in the spring of 1907, during a revolt of French winegrowers in the Langdoc. For these farmers, the land wasn’t just where they lived, it was their identity, their source of livelihood and strength. They were the land.
This wasn’t rhetoric – Albert and his fellow winegrowers were squeezed to the breaking point due to a many-year depression in wine sales caused by cheap, fraudulent wines flooding the market. They blamed government for failing to stop the frauds, grown in poor soils and churned out quickly, and that spring, exactly 110 years ago, their revolt spread through the south of France with drums beating and bugles blaring.
The Wine Revolt as it was known isn’t well remembered today. However, it achieved some success. It drew producers and consumers of wines together. It asserted the value and equality of women in the chain of wine growing, production and sale. And, it alerted government to the value of the land and soil, and their authentic place in the people’s lives.
In our time, we face similar surpluses of cheap, nutrient-poor products grown in unhealthy soil. Whether we can acknowledge the truth of our connection to the soil in 2017 as they did in 1907 is another matter.