A Watershed Moment: It’s All About Dirt

Squanto teaches the pilgrims how to care for their soil and crops. Courtesy of www.themoralliberal.com

Today we hear from Sheri Rop, owner of Nourish Organic Market in Eastown. Nourish is sponsoring the next film in the WMEAC film series, Dirt! The Movie. Sheri explains why healthy dirt leads to healthy plants and healthy people.

Elementary school lessons teach the story of Squanto, a Native American who taught pilgrims to bury a fish in the soil in order to cultivate corn. The fish fertilized the soil, causing corn crops to grow and prosper in previously infertile soil.

Squanto’s fish idea and other farming techniques such as crop rotation and animal manure kept dirt and crops full of nutrients in the past, but times are changing.

Due to industrial farming and animal factory farms, all aspects of the food chain are suffering. Mono-cropping is now the norm and it depletes the soil of all nutrients. Mistreated factory farm animals suffer from malnutrition, making their manure unable to restore any nutrients back to the earth.

To account for this, chemicals and fertilizers are poured onto crops to make foods appear healthy. But these chemicals are infecting an already open wound. According to the Nutrition Security Institute, “The escalated use of synthetic nitrogen chemical fertilizers, pesticides, erosion, land clearing, and compaction has had a devastating effect on beneficial living organisms in the soil.”

Depleted soil means depleted plants. Experts from the Nutrition Security Institute say that an apple has lost 82.7% of its magnesium and a high percentage of other important nutrients, just in the last 100 years. At this rate, it won’t be long before we need to eat 10 apples a day to keep the doctor away.

Dirt! The Movie, is coming to the Wealthy Theatre this Wednesday. Before the show, local farmers and community gardeners will be in the lobby of the theatre to answer questions and provide information about the quality of soil and farming in West Michigan.  Doors are at 6:30pm, movie starts at 7:00pm. The event is free with a suggested donation of $5.

Listen to this episode of A Watershed Moment here.

A Watershed Moment” is a weekly radio program focused on environmental news and happenings in West Michigan, plus solutions for living a greener life.  Broadcast on WYCE-FM 88.1 on Tuesdays at 8:30am and 5:30pm, this program is produced by Grand Rapids Community Media  Center and West Michigan Environmental Action Council.

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