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SOILS FOR LIFE
March 22nd, 2015

Farming Matters | 31.1 | March 2015 This issue of Farming Matters presents the experiences of farmers who are working successfully, together with others, to improve the health of their soil and their lives. The stories on these pages show that healthy soils increase farmers’ autonomy and long-term productivity. And, healthy soils also contribute to climate change … Read moreSOILS FOR LIFE

Editorial – Soils: where the roots of agroecology and family farming lie
March 22nd, 2015

Healthy soils contribute to resilient food production. Soil carbon is a key to healthy soils but, today we see the long-term consequences of agricultural management that has neglected soil carbon – degraded soils, polluted waters, and unprecedented rates of hunger and malnutrition. There are good examples of agroecological practices that were developed by farmers who … Read moreEditorial – Soils: where the roots of agroecology and family farming lie

From slash and burn to ‘slash and mulch’
March 22nd, 2015

In semi-arid cropping regions of West Africa, fallow periods are getting shorter. As land becomes more scarce, farmers are not able to give their soils enough time to rest. This is leading to depletion of soil organic matter, severely threatening soil fertility and damaging soil structure. In the worst cases, crops hardly yield anything anymore. … Read moreFrom slash and burn to ‘slash and mulch’

Opinion: Catching up with farmers’ knowledge in the IYS
March 22nd, 2015

Historically, scientists learnt from farmers to unravel the interplay between nature and farming. Pablo Tittonell believes that this year, the International Year of Soils, presents an opportunity to foster a true dialogue of wisdoms, bringing farmer knowledge and scientific knowledge closer together again. The United Nations is bringing a welcome impetus to the call for … Read moreOpinion: Catching up with farmers’ knowledge in the IYS

Organised communities build healthier soils
March 22nd, 2015

Farmers who are trying to build up healthy soil on their land can find it a particularly prolonged process. Work with local community organisation in Nicaragua, however, shows that results can be seen relatively quickly and achieved on a broad scale, with a long-term farmer-led strategy. From its origins in the 1970s, The Council of … Read moreOrganised communities build healthier soils

Locally rooted: Ideas and initiatives from the field
March 22nd, 2015

Farmers worldwide know that their choice of practices is key to the health of their soils. And this, in turn, is key to producing healthy food. But healthy soils, in many cases, are not the norm and so farmers must restore degraded lands. Here we see four different examples that offer a range of practical … Read moreLocally rooted: Ideas and initiatives from the field

Mind! Books and films on soils
March 22nd, 2015

Soil Atlas 2015: Facts and figures about earth, land and fields D. Bartz (ed.), 2015. Heinrich Böhl Foundation, Berlin and Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam, Germany, 66 pages. More information Soils are the basis of our food production and much more, and this book explains much and in an easily readable way. Short pieces … Read moreMind! Books and films on soils

Opinion: Healthy soils are essential for healthy lives
March 22nd, 2015

Marcela Villareal says that healthy soils are essential for healthy lives. And, there is an urgent need to ensure the sustainable management of soils to ensure sustainability and food and nutrition security for all. Soils are fundamental to life on Earth. They constitute the foundation of agricultural development and ecological sustainability and constitute the basis … Read moreOpinion: Healthy soils are essential for healthy lives

Videos inspire farmers to experiment
March 22nd, 2015

Healthy soils are the foundation for healthy crops. And in sub-Saharan Africa, fertile soils are doubly important, as they help to reduce infestation by striga, or witchweed, which can seriously reduce cereal yields. A series of films featuring farmers showing what they have achieved with compost is having a big impact. And these are achieving … Read moreVideos inspire farmers to experiment

Organic waste for land restoration
March 22nd, 2015

In Central Asia, unsustainable land management has turned large areas of productive land into wastelands. “Not possible, no water, too hot…” has for a long time been the standard response from locals when asked why there has been so little effort to reverse natural resource degradation. But in recent years, innovative farmers like Ruzimatov Mahmudjon … Read moreOrganic waste for land restoration