Friday, April 22, 2011

Celebrate our soil, our earth, on Earth Day!

The following essay "Organic agriculture: deeply rooted in science and ecology" written by Maine farmer Eliot Coleman (one of our farmer-heroes) is a very good read and perfect for Earth Day. It is lengthy but clearly and succinctly explains and celebrates the farming techniques that both preserve and renew our soil, i.e., our earth, which produce the healthy food that nourishes our communities.

My husband and I first majored in biology during college before pursuing graduate degrees in other related areas of study. We are completely committed to organic agriculture as being 'applied biology' rather than 'applied chemistry'. This essay will help readers understand that terminology.

However, I also hope when you read this essay that you will appreciate (and love as much as I do) how and why Eliot Coleman plays with words trying to explain our lack of language that describes 'plant-positive thinking', our lack of having even a word let alone a widely-respected (i.e. well-funded) field of study at the university level that emphasizes health within the soil, the healthy food that soil produces, and the healthy individuals and communities nourished by that food and soil. I won't spoil it - I hope you'll read the essay and then chuckle, cry, and think about alternatives to current majors!

I am going to print this essay to keep where I can re-read it often, just as I frequently re-read Aldo Leopold's essay 'The Land Ethic' within his classic book A Sand County Almanac. My husband has bought, read, re-read, high-lighted, and ear-marked every book Eliot Coleman has written, so perhaps, I'll print out two copies of his essay, one for me and one for Dick, and tuck them in as an appendix to his books.

I collect quotations about soil. I'll end with a few of my favorites. I may have shared them in this blog before. I was reminded of one of them today while sorting through my bookshelves and reading a section of Walden by Henry David Thoreau.

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
 ~~ Henry David Thoreau

To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.
~~ Mahatma Gandhi

No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth,
no culture comparable to that of the garden ...
But though an old man, I am but a young gardener.
  ~~Thomas Jefferson, Garden Book, 1811

If you have a favorite soil quote, please add it to the comments. I'll add it to my growing collection and find a place to include it in a future blog post.

"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

1 comment:

Kateri said...

A favorite quote isn't coming to mind right this minute, but I will confess that stole the Thoreau quote and used it as status on facebook.