Regenerative Agriculture

Stop treating our soil like Dirt

While I’ve been composting for years with the help of tiger worms in my green waste wormery, as well as employing seaweed and manure to naturally enrich my raised beds, it wasn’t until I watched this video and signed up to the People4Soil campaign that I really tuned in to the bigger picture.

As society has become increasingly estranged from food that we eat and disconnected from where it is sourced in the natural world, an inevitable consequence of urbanisation, soil has been undervalued. Land is considered an asset class, a property or site with development potential, development which rarely factors in soil sustainability. But soil is a precious resource, the value of land is in the soil.

I’ve been bleating on about soil for a while now but not nearly as long as the likes of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies. Their collection of videos are a rallying cry for global citizens to take responsiblity for themselves, for self sufficiency in the small actions they take in their daily lives and consumer habits.

The story of soil fascinates me. It’s a story untold, but Kiss The Ground are changing that. There’s a growing awareness about climate change, pollution, greenhouse gases, and carbon in the environment. The term carbon sequestration is now part of the vocabulary. With the problem of mass emissions comes a solution right under our nose, grounded in the earth under our feet. Enter regenerative agriculture, the practice of literally farming the land rather than working, exploiting and exhausting it, instead nourishing the earth itself as a crop to produce more healthy soil.

Compost is the active ingredient that encourages soil fertility. The message is simple and actionable; recycle biodegradable natural materials back in to the ecosystem by composting waste. It’s a win:win; Less bin charges, less transportation pollution, less landfill, less methane gas. More compost, greater soil fertility, healthier plants, higher food nutrition.

Since the recession in Ireland, property development and developers have negative conitations, but there is an emergence of new-age sustainable land development, one that builds up the natural asset instead of on top of it, a regenerative practice rather than destructive construction. I would like Glencullen Farm to be part of this regenerative movement, following a model that puts in more than it takes out. The humble earth worm is the champion of the story of soil. The worm, together with compost, hold the answer to healthy soil, healthy food, healthy people. The seeds of an idea around community composting and a soil sanctuary are still dormant but the niggle of the wriggle of the worm returning to Glencullen will be revisited.

If this has got you thinking too, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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