It’s time to talk about soil!
Usually ignored and hardly ever appreciated, the wonderful world of soil is not often discussed — this all changes every December 5th. World Soil Day is held annually on this day as a means to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources.
Soil is the basis for life as we know it and we have a responsibility to care for it and ensure its preservation for future generations.
What is healthy soil?
The healthiest soil has plentiful air pockets, is free of toxins, and has strong carbon and organic matter content. These conditions allow plants to flourish and remain resilient to changes going on around them.
As climate change presents unknown challenges, it is important to know that our soil can sustain productivity and help our plants “bounce back”.
Why are healthy soils important?
95% of the world's food is directly or indirectly produced in soil, and we know that the food we eat correlates directly with our general well-being. Beyond our individual health, healthy soil contributes to the protection of our planet through:
- Improved plant health and yields
- Increased water infiltration and retention
- Diminished greenhouse gases and carbon emissions
- Reduced erosion and sedimentation
- Improved water and air quality
- Enriched biological diversity and wildlife habitats
It is essential to the prosperity of humanity that we prioritize a shift to practices that support soil health.
Threats to soil
Of the many threats to soil health, the single greatest is erosion. Caused by wind, water, or other human activity, erosion removes surface soil — which often has the highest biological activity and organic matter — leading to a loss of fertile land. In fact, half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years.
In addition to degrading arable land, erosion has led to an increase in pollution and sedimentation in water sources — making them uninhabitable. Sustainable land use can help to reduce these negative impacts by preventing soil degradation, erosion, and the loss of valuable land to desertification.
Jacobs Farm del Cabo and healthy soils
Fostering healthy soils is a key part of our mission to grow fresh, high quality, delicious food without damaging the environment. We follow several best practices across hundreds of our farms to ensure the ongoing health of our planet and its people:
We work alongside soil scientists to strategically assess our soil health across all our small scale farms. These experts provide recommendations on a case-by-case basis to ensure we’re meeting healthy soil levels.
We actively monitor soil organic matter (SOM), as it is a direct measurement of carbon. Soil absorbs and stores carbon from the atmosphere, which helps reduce the greenhouse effect and maintain atmospheric balance.
We are working to reduce our dependence on inputs and instead leverage and work in sync with local, natural resources, and ecological processes.
We practice seasonal crop rotation by mixing up what we grow. In doing this, we increase local biodiversity and encourage nutrient richness and soil fertility.
We plant cover crops during the offseason — most commonly wheat between tomato crops. After all, a plant-covered planet is a healthy planet. By maintaining consistent vegetation, we are able to better retain soil moisture, reduce surface temperatures, and encourage more biodiversity both above and below ground.
In addition to helping the planet, we also truly believe these practices enhance the quality and flavor of our products — it’s a win-win!
What can I do to support healthy soils?
As with most things, education is the most powerful weapon. Here are several resources we recommend checking out to expand your knowledge and find opportunities to advocate for soil health:
- Watch the “Kiss the Ground” film on Netflix, check out their resources, and create an individualized action plan.
- Embark on your own Soil Quest, powered by the Captain Planet Foundation.
- Watch the Regenerative Agriculture Primer from Regeneration International and continue your learning with their recommended reading list.
Finally, one of the easiest and most meaningful ways to promote healthy soils is by supporting organic farms — like us — who are actively working to promote sustainable land management.
To learn more about our commitment to healthy soils, follow us on Instagram.
Jacobs Farm Del Cabo was founded in 1980 as a small organic family farm dedicated to growing high-quality food without damaging the environment.
Today, our unwavering pursuit of social change through sustainable farming practices remains at the core of our company.