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Soil Care Network Newsletter

March 2019

by Anna Krzywoszyńska

Research

 

Policy and social movements

  • A fascinating development in the governance of soil health: The Soil Carbon Initiative in the USA launches an outcome-based verified standard for soil health certification. This standard “will give both food producers and manufacturers the ability to assess soil health-- including carbon levels-- to support the transition to regenerative agriculture in an effort to restore and maintain both soil and climate health. The standard requires farmers to enroll, perform baseline tests, and submit periodic performance assessments to indicate and verify progress.” The Initiative is supported by some big food industry players such as Danone; interestingly, their main discourse is around soil carbon and climate change.

  • Another important development for the health of socio-ecologies: The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) launched the Agroecology for Climate Action (#A4CA) Campaign at the Africa Climate Week in Accra, Ghana (18th-22nd March, 2019) calling upon all stakeholders to push for Agroecology as a viable adaptation and mitigation solution to climate change. The campaign aims to insert agroecology as a key climate change mitigation and adaptation strategy in ten African countries’ official climate plans.

  • More industry-led soil governance, as a big producer of potato-based commodities in Europe has launched a certification scheme for their growers to encourage soil health oriented practices. Potatoes are some of the most damaging crops when it comes to soil health, so this is an interesting development

  • The European think tank IDDRi’s “Ten years of agroecology” report claims that Europe could be fed entirely from agroecological food production if diets shifted more towards plant-based foods

  • An interesting Roadmap to Soil Health has been developed by scholars, farmers, and policy makers in New York State, USA, exploring barriers to greater adoption of sustainable soil management practices and ways of overcoming them in the farming community.

 

Soils in the news

  • This story of a Chicago-based beloved vermicomposting company being shut down is an instructive example of how land regulation can obstruct attempts at land regeneration and repair

  • In a similar vein, legislation change is needed to permit the actual realisation of the ‘from dust to dust’ formula and legalise the composting of human bodies

  • Recent flooding in the Midwest of the USA is costing the farmers generations’ worth of topsoil

  • The fire of a residential building in London in 2017 is found to have lasting health consequences through soil pollution. “Analysis of soil, debris and char samples of insulation boards used on the tower has revealed heightened concentrations of cancer-causing chemicals and proven carcinogens including benzene within 200m (656ft) of the tower.”

Editorials, blogs and opinion

Resources

  • Some interesting examples of tools and databases linking land conditions, natural resource impacts, and land use can be found here

Books

  • The International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy 2018 is out. "This book presents an important discussion on urbanization and sustainable soil management from a range of perspectives, addressing key topics such as sustainable cities, soil sealing, rehabilitation of contaminated soils, property rights and liability issues, as well as trading systems with regard to land take."