There are acres of sterile land throughout the prairies, killed by industrial agricultural practices and the use of chemical fertilizers. This is unproductive soil that looks more like dust than dirt, nothing will grow in it without depending on huge amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. It’s very vulnerable to erosion, wet years see it washed into already fragile rivers and lakes and dry years produce massive dust clouds that effect air quality over vast areas including towns and cities. Producers are trapped in a cycle of dependency that can dictate the types of crops they can plant. Most of all it’s totally unsustainable. There’s important reasons for people to switch to organic practices and it’s not just a wave of fickle consumer preference. Organic farming protects and builds soil.
When we think of growing soil many people draw a blank, how the heck do you grow soil. People don’t think of soil as a living entity, they think of it as an inert substance that plants live in. In truth soil is a complex ecosystem of it’s own full of varied micro-organisms both flora and fauna. It’a a living breathing masterpiece of the Nitrogen cycle and none of us could be here without it. The fundamental building block of soil is Humus think of it a housing for micro-organism, once properly housed they can go to work breaking down organic material into the usable nutrients that plants need all a part of the Nitrogen cycle.
Worms too are fabulous soil builders, the best really, they represent giant ocean liners on the sea of soil life. Each worm takes in raw organic matter and after a trip through the rich bacterial landscape of it’s digestion deposits a perfectly balanced cast. The cast consists of Humus and everything that lives within it’s protective structure. Worms leave behind housing for soil nutrients and micro-organisms.
When food producers choose to leave the world of chemical filled production they do face a road of change in the beginning but once converted, organic production will equal out and in the end is proven to save money on top of the environment.