National Soil Conservation Week
"National Soil Conservation Week happens during the third week of April each year. It is a perfect opportunity for Canadians to highlight the importance of soil health and soil science to our economy and our future. This year, from April 15-21, 2018, the Soil Conservation Council of Canada invites you to get involved by performing the Soil Your Undies challenge. It is a fun and simple soil science experiment that tests one of the indicators of soil health - its biological activity.
Why is soil health important?
Soil produces 95% of the food we eat. Soil is a living breathing system that provides nutrients and water to crops as well as homes to billions of soil organisms. These organisms feed growing crops by turning dead plant material into useable nutrients. They also help create soil organic matter, which holds water and reduces the risk of soil erosion. Even though healthy soil is critical to the economic and environmental sustainability of the agri-food industry, it is increasingly under stress. These stresses include:
- the expansion of our cities and communities;
- increased demands on soils to grow food for growing populations;
- changes in cropping, tillage and other practices that can degrade soil health; and
- increased frequency of extreme weather due to climate change, which can speed up soil degradation.
The annual cost of soil degradation in Canada is estimated at over $3 billion each and every year, and this will only increase if nothing is done.
So what can we do? Farmers and land users need support to implement best management practices that mitigate many of these risks, but it is not solely their responsibility. Every Canadian that enjoys the abundance of safe and nutritious food should be aware of the threats to our soil and support the conservation of this precious resource. Be vocal and share your concern for Canada's soil health through social media and with your local industry/community group or politician.
National Soil Conservation Week is a great time to consider becoming a member or supporter of the SCCC. Click on the green links on this page to learn more.