Newsworthy No-Till, Good Reads, & Dispatch Q's
“The world grows 95% of its food in the uppermost layer of soil, making topsoil one of the most important components of our food system. But thanks to conventional farming practices, nearly half of the most productive soil has disappeared in the world in the last 150 years, threatening crop yields and contributing to nutrient pollution, dead zones and erosion. In the US alone, soil on cropland is eroding 10 times faster than it can be replenished.”
If you’re reading this bit from the newest Guardian article, “The world needs topsoil to grow 95% of its food – but it's rapidly disappearing”, on our blog, you probably already know the jist of it. The world is losing it’s topsoil and no-till practices can potentially reverse the innumerable disastreous effects of plow-based conventional agriculture yadayadayada… we get it.
I bring up this article specifically, because no-till agriculture is becoming an increasingly bright spot in an otherwise damning “agriculture vs the environment” story within major media outlets. When I come across these stories, I try to share them with my CSA members and farmers market customers to show not only the severity of the issue (only potential societal collapse, no big deal), but also that our little farm going no-till is part of a greater movement, a groundswell of farmers who not only see the benefits of no-till for their personal farms, but as an imperative to sustaining our food system in a changing climate.
Good [no-till] Reads
In the Guardian article, it mentions one of our favorite authors, Robert Montgomery. We’ve listened to his books DIRT: The Erosion of Civilizations and The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life & Health on Audible. Side note: I know it’s not a good time to mention reading, because June, but do yourself a favor and get Audible. Montgomery also has a recent book, Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life, we can’t wait to dig into. Another great read—err… listen—is Water in Plain Sight by Judith Schwartz, who also wrote Cows Save the Planet.
No-Till Dispatch Questions
Farmer Jesse will be recording the next No-Till Dispatch next week, so now is the time to get your questions in, Patrons. Just go to this post and submit your question. If you’re not a Patron, you can become one and support our work here for as little as $2/month. Forget a cup of coffee, that’s less than a pack of radish seed a month (but, we need our coffee). Season two of the No-Till Market Garden Podcast is already in production mode, we can’t thank y’all enough for making it possible.
Ps. Don’t let comparison be the thief of joy, folks. The beginning of Summer is the most difficult time for nearly everyone, and we’ve all got corners of the farm or sections of beds that have gotten away from us. I, myself, am only in my first full year of no-till, and I’ve learned plenty of lessons the hard way. This week alone, I’ve spent 20 man-hours hand-pulling crab grass from pathways, but you won’t see that on Instagram (or maybe you will). Keep up the good work.