Let’s Get Down and Dirty…

By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness

February 8, 2021

Down here in Florida, we’ve got alligators.

That probably sounds like a no-brainer to you.  But for some, this fact was forgotten when they moved into an exclusive community in southern Florida.

Years ago, a developer bought something like 300,000 acres of the Everglades and filled in the natural swamplands. Then, he added multimillion dollar homes with massive pools.

Well, you can guess what happened next.  Yup… alligators in swimming pools, missing pets and some very unhappy rich people.[1]

This is just one (slightly entertaining) example of how humans don’t always consider the powers of nature.

Our planet is an amazing living thing.  It provides us with every resource we need to live our lives.

And the most important aspect of our natural surroundings is a small 6-inch layer of topsoil that covers portions of the globe.

Over millions of years, this layer of fertile soil grew thicker and thicker.  Bugs, and snakes, and squirrels, and plants all contributed to make a rich mixture perfect for growing food.

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And today, that top soil — the source of our food supply — is being threatened…

Understanding the Threat to Our Soils

If you look closely at a teaspoon of fertile soil, it will have more than one billion microbes ready to work their magic.[2]

Isn’t that amazing?

There are more microbes in a teaspoon of soil than there are people on our planet.[3]  And we’ve been killing our soil for decades using poisons like herbicides and pesticides.

Poor farming practices also strip our precious soils of the nutrients our food crops need.

After World War II, farmers in the Midwest started planting corn, soybeans, and other grains.

They focused on creating a high quantity of crops but didn’t always use sustainable farming methods.  For instance, they used chemicals to destroy crop eating insects.

They also planted the same crops year after year on any particular field.  This killed off the microbes in the soil and left the soil essentially “dead.”

Today, the U.S. loses top soil at a rate ten times faster than it’s renewed.[4]  The soil is largely lost to factors like erosion.

This has a very real effect on your food quality.  A study done at the University of Texas found that 43 different fruit and vegetable crops had less nutritional value than they did 50 years ago.[5]

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Levels of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin B3, and vitamin C were all lower.  Researchers blamed modern farming practices and our focus on growing bigger crops fast.

Farmers are simply reacting to a stressed system.  It’s not that they don’t want to make better choices.  Often, they are pressured into these practices so they can meet the demand. After all, they’re having to buy and plant new GMO seed crops yearly with glyphosate (Roundup® as the only systemic herbicide for those crops)), both conveniently sold on credit and your next year’s crop by the same company. They need to make a living after all.

(Things always seem to come down to money, don’t they?)

As a result of this stress, farmers experience the highest suicide rate of any profession in the United States — five times that of the general public.[6]

Some farmers are fighting back… 

Not all farmers are using these impoverishing farming practices though.  Some are fighting back!

They’re using something called “regenerative farming” to increase their soils organic content.  Instead of using chemicals, they’re using cover crops, specially mined rock dust to replenish minerals, and crop rotation.

One farmer on Long Island used these techniques and had a seven times increase in organic content over the course of four years.  The food grown on her land is so flavorful that local restaurants line up to buy their share.[7]

Regenerative farming also helps the land soak up rainwater like a sponge.  The ground actually pulls carbon dioxide from the air to help impact climate change.

These days, many politicians in the United States are working to get these regenerative practices more mainstream.  Some places are already hard at work.

For instance, France promotes large-scale government programs to help farmers increase the amount of carbon stored in their soils.   Then, certain US states have systems in place to reward their farmers for using these techniques.

Three Ways You Can Make a Difference

All of this information is my way of bringing your attention to our planet’s soil health.  I want you to understand the important ways that great soil can lead to great food.

If you want to make a difference you can start by supporting politicians who support healthy farming practices.

You can also start your own garden — just like the Victory Gardens of old.  Grow your own richly nutritious fruits and vegetables at home.

Finally, you can support healthy farming by only buying organic foods.  If people just voted with their wallets and bought organic food, companies will start to make changes.

Food from a robustly live soil has a personal healthy, tasty  history with us for millenia. The lab made and sprayed, not so much. Eat organic food…or as gran called it, food.

Sources:

[1] https://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/sfl-everglades-wildlife-story.html

[2] https://extension.oregonstate.edu/news/secret-life-soil

[3] https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwiLiO-x1qnuAhWQY98KHTBwAFkQFjALegQIARAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nrcs.usda.gov%2FInternet%2FFSE_DOCUMENTS%2Fstelprdb1101660.pdf&usg=AOvVaw2d1d22FWBn2EObsx9edCqB

[4] http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2015/ph240/verso2/#:~:text=%22The%20estimate%20is%20that%20we,30%20to%2040%20times%20faster.

[5] Scientific American. “Dirt Poor: Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious?” April 27, 2011. Available Online: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/soil-depletion-and-nutrition-loss/

[6] McIntosh, Wendy LiKamWa, et al. “Suicide rates by occupational group—17 states, 2012.” Morbidity and mortality weekly report 65.25 (2016): 641-645.

[7] https://www.huffpost.com/entry/climate-change-regenerative-farming_n_5f6cba7ec5b653a2bcb1550f

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