The end of the International Year of Soils is just the beginning

Alexandre Hogue (American, 1898–1994). Soil and Subsoil, 1946. Oil on canvas. Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Museum purchase with matching funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, 1971.027

In October of 2014 I sent the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization a proposal for a blog to celebrate the International Year of Soils. I wanted it to be a global venue where anyone could contribute a story about their relationship with and understanding of the soil medium.

Since the blog was launched in March 2015 we have had posts from scientists, farmers, activists, students, journalists, and educators. Blog posts have ranged from a NASA scientist working on a soil moisture satellite to a memoir about a child’s discovery of soil diversity in his backyard. We have had posts in four different languages from fourteen different countries (Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, England, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Scotland, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, USA) and every continent except Australia and Antarctica. Although our very first post was about a soil microbiologist who works in the Arctic, so pretty close!

I am also extremely pleased to report that the blog will be continuing for another year. Although the United Nations International Year of Soils is officially ending on December 4 the movement to respect and value our soil resources will continue, and I hope that this blog can play a role. So if you haven’t submitted a post, there’s still time and there is still a need. Anyone can contribute a post and we are always looking for new perspectives.

I would like to sincerely thank all the contributors to the blog for sharing their stories. I would also like to thank the UN-FAO for answering an email from a Soil Science graduate student in Ames, Iowa (USA) and for agreeing to host and manage the blog. Thank you to the staff of the UN-FAO for believing in this project and your patience in seeing it from start to finish.

The views expressed here belong to the speaker and do not necessarily represent FAO’s views, positions, strategies or opinions

Submitted by Catherine DeLong


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"The nature of the dirt impacts profitability, or the measure of life that exists," Pierzynski said. "Profitable soils enable us to support the number of inhabitants in life that we have, people as well as all living beings in nature."

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