There are many reasons why I am passionate about regenerative agriculture. One of the most important is the emphasis on soil health, essential for the health of the planet and the health of the population. Soils around the world have lost so much diversity and health, Australia’s included.
You are what you eat, but that also means you are what your food eats. Healthy soil is a living ecosystem consisting of microscopic and larger organisms. It supplies nutrients and water to plants, allowing them to grow and flourish and be nutritionally dense.
We often hear about three main nutrients in soil – nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
However, these aren’t the only important nutrients.
In addition to needing to contain these nutrients, healthy soil also needs to be able to store them. A soils ability to hold onto nutrients is measured by its cation exchange capacity or CEC. Soil with an abundance of clay or organic matter will have a high CEC, while soil that is very sandy or with little organic matter will have a low CEC.
For this reason, having a diverse ecosystem in the soil is key. Organic matter from the compost will increase the ability of soil to retain nutrients. The use of animals in regenerative farming also works this way, with manure and managed to graze supporting the ecosystem of the soil. It’s all about diversity.
Soil health and regenerative agriculture is something I’m very passionate about. From a nutrition and climate point of view, it is key to our future. I’ve done several podcasts on this matter with people who are experts in their field, hear more at Unstress here. You can also listen to my episode with Glenn Morris on the importance of building resilience in soil or with Tim Wright on using animals to regenerate the land.