Everyday practices and shopping to protect the soil.
Soil is the pertinent to our health and the health of the planet. Responsible eating, shopping, and living can help lessen your impact on climate change and encourage others around to be conscious of their actions. Below is just a brief description how and why your actions affect the soil.
Easy Tips and Tricks:
Eat local. Eating local can help you know your farmers and where exactly your food comes from. Most local farms are happy to explain their practices to you and answer your questions. Eating food that is grown close to you also cuts down on transportation emissions that cause soil pollution.
Eating what is in season. When you eat what is in season, you are helping to decrease the demand on distant bio-regions, reducing your carbon footprint from travel, and helping the local economy. You can always preserve foods for later in the year – try fermenting, pickling, canning, and freezing your favorite produce.
Grow your own food. Growing your own food may seem like a lot of work, but you can always start small – like a small indoor planter. If you are growing outside, you will want to test your soil for heavy metals – which is often prevalent in urban areas, and can affect your health. If levels are too high, you may want to get composted soil or start composting yourself. There’s lots of online resources for starting chemical free gardens and composting, no matter where you live. Plus fruit loses nutrients over time, so the sooner you eat the produce after picking, the more nutrients and flavor will be in your food.
Start composting your food waste. Composting can be done indoors, outdoors, or a in commercial facility (like Northland College). Food waste produces huge amounts of carbon dioxide and methane into our air. Methane is released when food is decomposes in landfills – methane has 21 times the warming potential as carbon dioxide. Methane emissions are significantly reduced when composting.
Choose meat and dairy products where the animals regenerate the land. Industrial livestock raising is detrimental to our soils and waterways. Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) break nutrient cycles, creates pollution, and contribute to global warming. Feeding animals in CAFOs comes from large industrial corn and soybean fields that also degrade the land and produce large amounts of carbon dioxide. However, many smaller farms are starting to practice ecologically sound grazing practices where they move their herds slowly around their land. You may want to consider eating less meat as it is one of the best things an individual can do to limit there carbon footprint and help land health.
Know your annuals and perennials. Annual plants must be replanted each year. This causes some soils to be depleted of their nutrients, especially if the same crops are planted every year. The soil will often be tilled every year as well, destroying the ground’s fungal network. Perennials are plants that last two or more years. These plants have stronger root structures that maintain more consistent ground cover, and require less frequent ground disturbance. Some perennials that you likely already eat are peaches, apples, asparagus, olives, teas, and coffees.
Go beyond food. Support goods that are ethically and sustainably sourced. Invest in high quality items that will last, repair, and re-purpose goods. Avoid items made of plastic. Many fabrics are made of plastic even though it doesn’t feel like it. These fabrics, like rayon and polyester, release micro-plastics into our waterways and soils. Choose less toxic or natural cleaning supplies – you can often make your own from simple ingredients like baking soda, salt, and vinegar. Limit purchases of single-use items to avoid the amount of waste going to landfills. Dispose of hazardous waste properly.
This information was based off the Kiss the Ground purchasing guide, which you can look at here, for more details.