Since today is the first day of fall, I thought an article discussing soil and how it affects plant growth would be perfect.
I first learned how using the wrong kind of soil can burn plants if not used correctly when I attempted to transplant my Kratom tree into Miracle Grow potting mix about a month ago.
I used Fox Farm plant food and soil to bring my Kratom trees back to life. More on that in a future article.
This article originally appeared in Counter Punch.
"Underlying the production of food is soil, that “mixture of minerals, organic matter, gases, liquids, and countless organisms that together support life on Earth.” Food requires soil and labor, and as should be obvious, our relationship to the soil has always been a feature of human existence. For most of our time on earth, we have connected to the soil in an integral and sustaining way, taking care of it so that we could continue to harvest its gifts. We learned as we produced our sustenance, and developed greater understanding of how the earth yielded its bounties. While we made mistakes that sometimes led to disaster, we lived in relative harmony with the soil and all of the natural world.
Our treatment of the earth, of the dirt beneath our feet, is directly connected to our system of food production. The pollutants we put in the soil show up in our groceries. And the entire wretched business of agriculture derives from the nature of our economic system, which compels every giant corporation, every “entrepreneur,” to grow, to compete, to consider everything and everyone a commodity. Buy cheap, sell dear. These are the words that drive all of life.
At least a billion people worldwide are undernourished. Agriculture adds significantly to global warming, and it wreaks havoc on nature’s metabolism. Recent evidence suggests that as Co2 levels rise, major food commodities contain more sugar and fewer nutrients, very likely leading to more obesity and poorer health.
Corporate agriculture also reinforces the marked increase in income and wealth inequality evident in almost every nation. Those with means get decent nourishment and enjoy good health; those without have neither. Those who grow the food suffer; those who sell it get rich. Making matters worse, those with power tell us that the only remedy for the problems to which they will admit, is more of the same. More chemicals, more GMOs, more mechanization, more land consolidation.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We already know how to treat the soil with respect, producing organically, on relatively small farms, utilizing techniques of land management that are in harmony with a sustainable environment. We know, from examples around the world, especially in Cuba, how to feed urban populations with food grown in the cities themselves. There are food cooperatives, run democratically and non-capitalistically, that combine food production and distribution, serving local communities. We know how to conduct socially useful research that will show what works and what does not. If the will were there, we could greatly reduce global warming.
As we did these things, we would become more aware of the necessity for closing the ecological rifts that now threaten our existence, mainly the rift between town and country that has shaped the modern world, with destitute rural areas on the one hand and mega-cities on the other. Our actions would in turn shape our consciousness and help us build an ever more communal world."