“Soil is Everything”

posted by Ariella Jew on March 29th, 2010

I have always loved a great mud puddle. The love for mud is in my blood, but after my recent visits with Will Allen I have a new level of appreciation for how truly magnificent this black gold is! Nowhere is there a more beautiful example of WASTE = FOOD than that of growing soil. We can literally take trash and turn it into some of the most nutrient and microbial dense organic fertilizer anywhere. Fertilizer that in tern can restore vitamin and minerals in our food to pre industrial revolution levels (3 to 5x more nutrient dense then many of today”s vegetables) – and the most beautiful part is that nature does the work for us when we create the right conditions.

Composting is not a new concept, but many don’t realize how powerful and crucial this work is today. Soil sustains us and with the devastation of this invaluable resource in recent years, wherever we are growing food, we should also be growing soil in large quantities.

Brewers waste, spoiled food and kitchen scraps, cardboard, paper, manure, wood chips, hay, leaves, the waste from your rabbit cage, coffee grounds – you name it. All this organic waste could end up in the landfill and eventually it would break down and create soil (polluted by the toxic contaminates we bury with it). Instead, with a little planning, some hard (yet rewarding) work, relationship building, a lot of love and some patients, we can grow soil in 4-8 months. Then we can feed this fresh compost to our friends, the worms, to create a powerful organic fertilizer called vermicompost in 2-4 months more.

Growing Power has been working for years to develop relationships with schools, restaurants, hospitals, breweries, coffee shops and neighbors. The result is their ability to grow tons of the most amazing black fertile soil I have ever seen. In addition these relationships have grown more than soil over the years — they have grown community.

As human beings we have a profound opportunity to co-create with nature. Not through trying to develop systems that attempt to out-do and out-perform nature, which I will boldly say, is not possible. The power and magic comes in truly understanding the natural systems and cycles of the earth and working with them as partners. We will gain much joy, healing and abundance by collaborating with nature, and as humans, we have gifts to give her as well. Just as worms, microorganism and fungi cycle organic matter and transform it into a super fertile soil by simply living their truth, we two have the power to co-create and bless all that we touch. We are not separate from this natural system we call earth after all. As with all of natures magical processes and infrastructures, we are another organism (made up of organisms) that plays a crucial role in the balance and progress of the whole when we act from love. The choice is ours!

Here’s a slightly shaky but fun little clip of Will Allen sharing the process of composting & vermicomposting during a recent trip to Growing Power. Enjoy…