Roanna Martin

"make [food] simple and let things taste of what they are." {Curnonsky}

December 5: World Soil Day

6 Comments

Soil. Ground. Dirt.

It’s really all about the dirt. The brown stuff that we walk on, brush off our shoes before we go inside, and even scold our children for playing in. (Side note:  I grew up playing outside on my parent’s farm. I was not scolded for playing in the dirt, unless I was wearing my going-away clothes. Once I even made cookies out of mud and my cousin ate them. Literally. I learned to embrace soil at a young age).

Humans grow and are nourished by food, and food is grown in and nourished by the soil. Therefore we, as humans, owe some respect to this beautiful brown substance.

M.S. Swaminathan, an Indian geneticist, states it this way:

“Soil anaemia also breeds human anaemia. Micronutrient deficiency in the soil results in micronutrient malnutrition in people, since crops grown on such soils tend to be deficient in the nutrients needed to fight hidden hunger. (…) Managing our soil and water resources in a sustainable and equitable manner needs a new political vision.”

In 2010, the National Nutrition Month theme for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the ADA at that time) was “Nutrition from the Ground Up”. I was a big fan of that theme.
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By treasuring our soil, we are preserving a precious resource. One of the ways that we can accomplish this is through recycling our food by composting. Fruit and vegetable scraps, paper, even lint from your dryer can be turned back into soil through natural biological processes.
When I moved into an apartment for grad school, I knew that I wanted to avoid throwing food scraps into the trash and the resulting greenhouse gases produced by such actions. So, I began researching options for composting in a small space, and I ended up with a vermicomposting system. Basically, it’s a plastic tub with worms in it where I throw my fruit and vegetable scraps for the worms to eat and produce worm castings, which are incredibly nutrient rich.
The other day I decided to empty out all of the chocolate brown goodness into my garden to prepare it for next year’s growing season.
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This is what the remains of my summer garden looked like:
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I emptied the few remaining beets out of my garden, and proceeded to work the worm castings into my soil.
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And here’s the finished product.
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If you notice, my Swiss Chard is still thriving because of the mild weather thus far. I tear off a leaf or so and cut it up in my meals- I love having fresh greens in December!
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Author: roannamartinwvudietetics12

A dietetic intern with a love of learning, an enjoyment of food, and a passion for people.

6 thoughts on “December 5: World Soil Day

  1. Our soil is so valuable. I love how the ADA is thinking about health holistically from soil to eating. Hopefully this will help more people learn to value our soil.

    • I completely agree- and I found a subset of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (previously ADA, now AND- the name has changed in 2012) that is especially focused on the soil: the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group. I went to some of their meetings at a recent conference and this is truly a group of inspirational and passionate individuals.

  2. Your redbeets are amazing. Not sure chocolate and earthworm castings should be in the same paragraph ;)!!!

  3. Love reading your blog, Roanna! Have any tips for starting to blog about dietetics?

    • Thanks for your interest, Courtney- although I’m not sure at this point I’m qualified to dish out loads of blogging advice! Talk about what inspires you, things that interest you, a dash of scientific things, but mostly something that people can relate to and implement 🙂 And be sure to let me know when you get started! There was a good session at FNCE on this by the RD bloggers at the food network.

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