It's Much More Than "Dirt"
My first of the month blog posts are dedicated to the practice of Living Connected. Soil is the focus of our practice for June 2021.
Take a hand trowel or sturdy spoon outside and find some bare ground. Put your hands on the ground. Feel the firmness of the soil surface, bearing the load of all we place on it. Dig a few inches into the ground and use your hands to play with the soil. Notice its colors, textures, moistness, and maybe even scent! Celebrate the nourishment your body receives from food grown in soil.
Healthy soil is a complex system of weathered rocks, minerals, microorganisms, organic matter, air, and water. Biological activity within soil releases nutrients for plants and is the source of nutrients in our food. Soil functions as a reservoir by holding water for plants to use in photosynthesis. It also stores carbon as part of the carbon cycle and can play a role in mitigating climate change.
Use your shovel or spoon to bring some soil home with you. Place the soil in a small container in the kitchen, where you can regularly see it as a reminder of your dependence on soil. Say a prayer of thanks for the nourishment you receive from soil, and for people working to make soil healthier. What can you do to restore the health of soil where you live?
I invite you to try one of the following practices this month.
Once a day, step outside and stand on unpaved ground. Say a prayer of thanks for the soil and for all earth that supports and sustains your life.
Consider how scripture may inform the way you think about soil. Read Genesis 2:7; Leviticus 25:1-7, 18-24; Isaiah 24:4-6, and Amos 8:4-12.
Use the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Web Soil Survey to learn about the soils where you live.
Learn about integrated pest management for homeowners and use its methods to improve soil health where you live.
Implement some of the Audubon Society’s tips for maintaining your yard to store carbon in the soil.
Participate in backyard carbon sequestration.
If you operate farm or ranch land, contact the nearest NRCS Local Service Center for ways to improve soil health on your farm or ranch.
When purchasing food at the grocery store, look for these certifications, which include some elements of caring for soil: Demeter Biodynamic, Fair Trade, Food Alliance, Rainforest Alliance, and USDA Organic.
Talk with local growers at farmers markets and learn how they care for the soil before making purchases.