Dirt – It’s What’s for Dinner

1 Feb

To dig in one’s own earth, with one’s own spade,
does life hold anything better?
– Beverly Nichols



I am just a couple of pages into a book loaned to me by Eric Cefus of the Catamount Institute and Pikes Peak Sustainable Business Network in El Paso County, Colorado.  The book’s title is Out of the Earth – by Daniel Hillel.  I can already tell that this will be an eye-opener concerning the history and the future of our civilization based on our care for the soil, water, and air that gives us life.

As he illustrated in the intro – dirt is accompanied with a list of negative-connotations (“dirty”, “soiled”, “muddled”).  I am unsure of the reason this has come to be, but the fact that we are so detached from the very dirt that grows our food and provides forage for our animals is concerning.  Everyone should know a whole lot more about dirt.

Every day I come into contact with more gardeners, farmers, producers, and ranchers, who on a small to large scale are dependent upon soil for their crop.  Sometimes this crop feeds just their family and sometimes this crop feeds thousands of people.  We are all dependent upon healthy soil to produce healthy food.  In addition to that, we are also dependent upon water systems that can nourish our land and our bodies.

So what?  As we will investigate in this book, there have been numerous civilizations to NOT preserve and protect the quality of their soil and thus have toppled.  A sustainable food system that provides nourishment to communities is key to existence much less prosperity.

The United States, being an amazingly diverse and dynamic compilation of land and soil, has a lot to preserve and protect.  The 307 million Americans who live here need healthy food – that means we must all (consumer and producer alike) be cognizant of what is going into and coming out of our soil.

The soil is equivalent to the life-blood of a human body.  It maintains the nutrients, carries the nutrients, and otherwise protects the body from harm.  Just as we, as humans, should create a healthy environment in our bodies, we should create healthy soil for our communities and country.  After all, dirt is what provides us our dinner – I can’t think of anything more important to protect.


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