Soil is one of our most precious resources and has been mismanaged for too long but that is changing – thanks to people like Nicole Masters, my guest earlier this year on Inside Ideas.
In her new new book: For the Love of Soil: Strategies to Regenerate our Food Production Systems, Masters presents a range of tools, principles and mindsets that producers can use to regenerate their soils.
“This book is not a technical ‘soils for dummies’ it’s very much about the stories of the people on the ground: who they are and what they do. I didn’t want another reference book,” Masters said.
And the independent agroecologist is bringing a fair few acres of knowledge to this, after dedicating the last two decades of her life to writing and speaking extensively on the topic of soil health.
“It’s an exciting time to be on the planet right now, to see the connections that are finally being made between the human gut microbiology, the soil microbiome and the planetary microbiome,” she explains.
When we disrupt the soil microbiome, Master says it “disrupts the quality of the food that we are growing and the food we are ultimately eating.”
“What we see in the US is an epidemic of a hidden hunger, in that people are not getting the trace elements, the vitamins and the secondary metabolites that they need to thrive and survive. So people eat more because they’re looking for something, not even realising what they’re looking for.”
But cared for properly, the soil can provide the essential vitamins, enzymes, minerals, water and everything else that plants need to produce the healthy foods that can give us the nutritional building blocks we need for a better life.
And through the book and her company, Integrity Soils – which delivers programs to producers and organisations spanning over 24 million acres, Masters is on a mission to inspire exactly the types of behaviours and practices that make good soil health a priority.
So as people tuck into hearty meals worldwide this holiday season let’s look at the beating heart of our food system: the soil, and learn what we need to do to save it.