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Soil Care Network Newsletter

February February 2020

by Anna Krzywoszyńska


Research and projects

  • ‘Dirt’ and ‘soil’ are often seen as contrasting concepts, one associated with risk, and the other with fertility. This interesting paper in history of education in the UK looks at how these concepts were both used and contested by child educators; an interesting insight into the historical dimension of human-soil disconnect.

  • If you ever need a quick proof that soil erosion is a socio-political issue, you can now use this satellite data project which has shown radical differences in soil erosion rates between countries along their borders – the images are striking!

Soil policy and social movements

  • Farmer managed natural regeneration is a traditional coppicing method which regenerates land and provides livelihoods, and it is now receiving serious support with the Grand African Savannah Green Up. The method uses existing seed banks and stumps to regenerate coppicing forests. Land rights and legal protection of land use are important to the uptake; as in many other cases, strengthening legal and institutional frameworks and ensuring access to land are crucial for the success of soil restoration using this method.

  • The new Italian ReSoil foundation we reported on in the previous newsletter has officially launched. It is funded by a bioplastics manufacturer Novamont, and it sees hope for soil in the EU’s focus on circular economies and bioeconomies – more detail on their plans in this press release.

  • In Washington, a promising policy bill goes to vote – the sustainable farms and fields bill “would provide $1 million in 2020-21 to launch a grant program supporting practices aimed at carbon sequestering and reducing greenhouse gases (…) The legislation would pay for additional soil research and give grants to farmers who try new methods to sequester carbon or cut greenhouse gas emissions.

  • In 2015, India launched the Soil Health Card programme which is testing holdings’ soil fertility. Its adoption by farmers has led to “some reduction in fertiliser use, especially nitrogen”, and “increase in use of bio-fertilisers”, and a significant increase in yields To increase trust in the method, thousands of model villages are being set up. India is now “assisting Nepal to scale up soil-testing facilities as well as organic farming for sustainable agriculture in the extremely sensitive Himalayan ecosystem.”


Markets and technology

Editorials, blogs and opinion

  • This editorial combines a poetic sensibility with a strong political stance in examining Christianity’s approach to soil and land, with a focus on land justice. “Dirt knocks me out of my human arrogance to remind me of all that has come before me, and all that will outlive me.”

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