On December 5th, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations will be celebrating World Soil Day. This year’s theme is, “Keep soil alive, Protect soil biodiversity”.
Soil is vital to sustaining life on Earth – from growing plants, to storing carbon and being the source of nutrients and minerals in our food. According to the UN FAO, a quarter of the world’s biodiversity resides in the soil, yet scientists only know about 1% of the cosmos contained within the soil. Therefore, the vast majority of the innerworkings of the world of soil is still a mystery.
Shumei’s Natural Agriculture approach is centred around trusting in the soil, which results in minimal human interference in the growing process. Natural Agriculture encourages farmers to trust in the natural power of the soil to create and sustain life – to have faith in the invisible universe under the surface.
Rather than trying to control it or inhibit its innate ability to regenerate by tilling or adding fertilizer and manure, Natural Agriculture farmers recognize the soil as a living system and respect the natural growing process without the use of any external inputs. To keep the soil alive and healthy, they simply keep the soil moist and temperate through mulching, and cultivate crops with natural seeds, sunlight and water. Most importantly, Natural Agriculture teaches farmers to have gratitude and respect for the living soil and the biodiversity that exists within its ecosystem.
For Soil Day, we can all learn to trust in Nature and in the beautiful mysteries of the natural world – many of which go unrecognized. This day is a reminder to be grateful for the gifts soil gives us, and to recognize soil as a living entity and the important role its biodiversity plays in creating life, nourishing our bodies and maintaining our climate.