Dirt Poor: The Health of Our Soil

Dirt Poor:  The Health of Our Soil

In an era not so long ago, humans didn’t have to think too much about what they used on their land to grow crops.  Sure they had their fair share of obstacles, but with the introduction of large scale agriculture and intensive farming methods came a whole new set of challenges.  Soil was not on their modern industrialized minds, growing more food for a growing population was the focus. Today it is apparent by the quality and lack of soil across the world!

I once remember a professor telling us that we could not call soil, dirt!

“Dirt is what you find on the floors in your home and what you track around on your shoes.  Soil is alive and it is special!”

I loved that professor!  She was young, cutting edge and obsessed over soil 24/7 over twenty years ago!  Fast forward to now and this topic is even more vital to the health and well being of every single living thing, even to things we can not see with the naked eye.  It has been said that 90% of our soil will be degraded by 2050 if we keep up at the rate we are moving with intensive farming and natural processes. ‘Moderately Degraded’ soil, I am being kind here with my choice of words, produces 30% less food and holds 50% less water.  Imagine what happens when soil is ‘Totally Degraded’!

Ready for this?

Over 40% of land, worldwide, has been taken over for agriculture.  This does not include land used for grazing animals for meat and dairy production.

Soil is not only important to grow food, it is also important for soaking up rain and holding it there.  Soil and water go hand in hand. We do not have a lack of water, we have a lack of soil to hold the water. Soil is made up of minerals, organic matter, air and water.  What is important is how these elements interact!  If one is out of balance, they are all out of balance.

Beneficial microorganisms can be the key to unlocking essential nutrients that have been bound up in soil and thus unavailable, due to conventional farming methods, synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides. The more happy healthy microorganisms, the more they can unlock the nutrients that our plants need to thrive.

In Iowa, one of the heaviest depleted soil states in the US, over 600 acres has been planted as ‘Prairie Strips’ to help rehabilitate the soil and recover the natural diversity that once thrived there. Regenerative Agriculture is a new old way of tending to our land, and hopefully it is here to stay!

What does this mean for us humans?  Well, we need food, right? We need soil and water to grow our food, right?  If we are not healthy, we cannot survive, right?  If our soil is unhealthy, then our food is not healthy, right?  See the trend here?

As Franklin Roosevelt said over 75 years ago…

“The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.”


Is alive!

Is non-renewable!

Is perplexing!

Is essential for life!

Can add to carbon emissions when it has been mistreated and abused!

Can take tons of carbon out of the atmosphere when it is rehabilitated and tended to mindfully!

Enough of the doom and gloom of the health of our soil.  There is a way to heal our soil and do the right thing!  Though soil may be a complicated living system that we are still learning more and more about, there are a plethora of easy ways to offset what damage has been done!


Not tilling your soil!  Yup, ditch the tiller and stop disrupting the amazing ecosystem that thrives below the soil’s surface, even beneath those unwanted weeds.  There are gazillions of micro-critters and their beneficial friends hard at work on the top few inches of our soil and once disrupted, it takes time for them to regenerate.  Why mess with them?  By planting cover crops, native plant species, ‘natural’ strips of flowering plants and grasses, and shallow digging, the soil will naturally do its own thing and heal.  Plus, the less tilling we do, the less topsoil that is lost!  Winning!

Using plant food and fertilizer that feeds the soil first!  Yes, that’s right, feed the soil and then the soil can feed the plants.  This isn’t rocket science!  Unhealthy soil cannot produce healthy plants, so start at the source.  Organic Plant Magic’s plant food does just that.  Our unique scientifically proven blend of microorganisms, 55+ trace minerals, humic acid, kelp and amino acids, will get to work on the soil immediately. How will you know if it is working?  Look at your plants!  They will be well nourished, vibrant, producing well and living their best life thanks to the quality of the soil they live in.  If you choose to use synthetic fertilizers, hormone laden manures, chemical pesticides and conventional resources, you will be continuing the trend of killing our soil.  It isn’t a renewable resource.  There is a limited supply and we are losing it and abusing it at insurmountable rates.  It is a choice, one that could make or break every living thing!

Going and growing Organic!  By far, this is the most logical!  Support those small organic farms, buy from family owned organic companies, ditch buying synthetic chemical laden products, start a garden, grow your own, start composting, raise your own hens, join a community garden, talk to the person who grows your food, be responsible for your food source, take some classes on organic gardening, team up with a neighbor to swap garden goodness, whatever you choose, do NOT choose chemicals.  Easy!

It starts at home, people!  One simple shift can make a world of difference.  Soil is one of the most amazing living systems, and it deserves our love!  Consider yourself one and all with the soil, because without it, we won’t be here either!

The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”

Wendell Berry Author of 'The Unsettling of America'