International Year of Soils

Date posted: Friday 16 October 2015

by Vernita Kennen


What is your connection to the soil? Do you have a backyard garden? Do you garden in pots, either with flowers or food-producing plants? Do you like to sift soil through your fingers, get dirt under your fingernails or appreciate the smell of the soil after rain?


According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) nearly 90% of the estimated 570 million farms worldwide are family farms. Of those, 83% are small farms measuring two hectares (about 2.5 acres) or less. Perhaps you grew up on a farm or remember visiting grandparents or other relatives who lived on farms. I did, and our family of about 200 acres would certainly qualify as a "large farm" by the world's standards but not as such in the United States today.


Those small- and medium-scale family farmers around the world are often the best agroecological farmers, ones who know that soil is a non-renewable resource, that soil stores and filters water, and that soil supports our planet's biodiversity. Soil is essential for food security and our sustainable future. Those "small farmers" have a "large" job in God's call to care for and tend the world God made. They are role models for all of us in our work together to keep God's garden here on earth, preserving it for those who will come after us.


Find some soil today. Let it fall through your fingers. Appreciate that soil is the basis for healthy food. Give thanks to God for soil and ask God to help us celebrate this year of soils.


(photo via Unsplash)