Save our soil

(c) Paul Dodds

(c) Paul Dodds - Credit: Archant

An appeal from the Soil Association to go organic and save our precious soil. It is a vital asset for smallholders

Carrots

Carrots - Credit: Archant

As any smallholder knows, healthy, diverse soil sustains life and provides us with food. In just one teaspoon of good soil there are more organisms than there are people on the planet, and without these organisms plants can’t get the nutrients they need to grow successfully. Healthy soil is also great for our environment. It can store more carbon than all the forests in the world and reduce the impacts of drought and flooding. It’s a smallholders most vital asset and we can’t live without it. Yet some of our precious soils are in crisis. Some scientists have even said the UK only has a hundred harvests left in it. We need save our soils to secure food production and protect our countryside for future generations by changing the way we farm.

Great ways to help your soil

There are things we can all do, even in our gardens or smallholdings. Make fantastic compost – recycle plant and animal matter for natural fertilisers, and spare the landfill sites too. Feed the soil to feed the plants; increasing levels of soil organic matter is essential to creating healthy soils, which your earthworms and so your birds too will love you for. And cover up bare soil with continuous plant cover – plants protect the soil from wind, heavy rain and even damage from you walking on it. Even weeds are better than bare ground, and will provide pollen for bees too. Find out more about our soils campaign.

Digging

Digging - Credit: Archant

Thinking of going organic?

Organic farming has soil beneficial practices at its core, including using no pesticides, increasing plant and animal matter that is returned back to the soil and using crop rotation to improve soil health. This way of farming increases organic matter in the soil and reduces degradation, feeding the soil, so that the soil can feed the plants.

It’s a great time to go organic – not only is it good for the environment, but the organic market is growing too. Soil Association Certification, UK’s largest organic certification body, can certify your smallholding and has recently reduced its fees further to support small scale farmers and growers who have between 0 ha and 5 ha of organic land. Find out more at www.soilassociation.org/certification/food-drink/what-is-certification/

About the Soil Association

The Soil Association was founded in 1946 by farmers, scientists, doctors and nutritionists to promote the connection between the health of the soil, food, animals, people and the environment. Today the Soil Association is the UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use.

To join the Soil Association from just £3.50 a month, simply visit our website.

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Not only will you change the world, but we’ll keep you updated with how you’re helping to protect our natural world and feed everyone better food through our regular magazine and enewsletter. Our Down to Earth Food Club will give you hints, tips and advice on organic cooking, growing, shopping and eating out. Join the Soil Association today.

Soil Association Certification is a wholly owned subsidiary which certifies over 70% of all organic products sold in the UK. Certifying organic food and farming since 1973, and more recently, organic textiles, health and beauty products, the team has built up extensive practical experience and provides unrivalled support before, during and after certification. It also audits other schemes within catering and forestry, including the Food for Life Catering Mark, and the FSC and PEFC forestry standards internationally, delivering assurances of quality and provenance that industry and consumers can trust.

The Soil Association and Country Smallholding magazine are working together to promote organic farming and support future organic smallholders.