SoilPhilosophically, organic has always been premised on the health of the soil. Photo courtesy of M. Kunz

Shedding Light on the Philosophical Heart of Organic Agriculture

“A fertile soil transmits forces. Originally, it was the only material on Earth that could hold water. It therefore became the theater where water, earth, and air could interact, where the earth could express itself in the endless variety of organic life.”

— William Bryant Logan, “Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth”

In authentic organic systems, soil is the headliner. Cover crops, compost, and minerals interact with carbon and water cycles, enriching organic matter and biodiversity. Philosophically, organic agriculture has always been premised on the health of the soil.

But in a time when biology has taken a backseat to “efficiency,” Cornucopia’s new Living Soil
Campaign reminds us that organic is synonymous with soil. In the months ahead, The Cornucopia Institute will reveal how fostering healthy soil leads to more resilient food production systems.

Living Soil will highlight the new science revealing how and why conventional systems get it wrong. Pesticides are not only a direct threat to human health, but they impact soil microbiology — to the detriment of both local and global ecosystems.

Cornucopia continues to press the USDA National Organic Program to enforce the required management of the living soil. USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack recently confirmed that, regarding soilless systems in organic, “No final decision has been made.”

Soilless systems cannot measure up to the ecological complexity of authentic organic agriculture. With your help, Cornucopia will research the organic marketplace, pursuing transparency in favor of farms that encourage soil health. Stay tuned for more issue articles, farmer spotlights, and opportunities to engage in concrete action.

Living soil can feed the world.

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