SOIL SCIENCE RESOURCES
What's the big deal about soil?
From growing 95% of our food to creating freshwater sources to balancing our climate to being the foundation of all life on land, soil drives our optimism for what’s possible. Let’s get started with The Soil Story.
500+ Indigenous Groups Leading Regenerative Development
- Nature-Based Solutions Database (via the Equator Initiative): Connecting communities around the world to share local solutions that work. Five continents, 500+ communities and thousands of ideas. Explore our Solutions Database to learn how outstanding local communities and indigenous peoples around the world are making possible the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals through nature-based actions.
- Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants
- As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise” (Elizabeth Gilbert). Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings―asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass―offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices. In reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return.
- Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land
Some of our most cherished sustainable farming practices have roots in African wisdom. Yet, discrimination and violence against African-American farmers has led to their decline from 14 percent of all growers in 1920 to less than 2 percent today, with a corresponding loss of over 14 million acres of land. Further, Black communities suffer disproportionately from illnesses related to lack of access to fresh food and healthy natural ecosystems. Soul Fire Farm, cofounded by author, activist, and farmer Leah Penniman, is committed to ending racism and injustice in our food system. Through innovative programs such as the Black-Latinx Farmers Immersion, a sliding-scale farmshare CSA, and Youth Food Justice leadership training, Penniman is part of a global network of farmers working to increase farmland stewardship by people of color, restore Afro-indigenous farming practices, and end food apartheid.
And now, with Farming While Black, Penniman extends that work by offering the first comprehensive manual for African-heritage people ready to reclaim their rightful place of dignified agency in the food system. This one-of-a-kind guide provides readers with a concise “how-to” for all aspects of small-scale farming, including:
- Finding Land and Resources
- Writing a Farm Business Plan
- Honoring the Spirits of the Land with Planting and Harvesting Rituals
- Restoring Degraded Land through No-Till and Biological Tillage
- Crop Planning for Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs
- Preserving the Harvest and Saving Seed
- Raising Animals Sustainably and Humanely
- Urban Farming, including a guide to laws and land access
- Movement Building through education, direct action, & policy change
Films & Media:
- Gather, a New York Times Critic’s Pick is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political, and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide. Gather is now available to stream on iTunes (US/UK/Canada), Amazon (US/UK) and Vimeo-on-Demand (rest of the world). gather.film
“Tending the Wild” shines light on the environmental knowledge of indigenous peoples across California by exploring how they have actively shaped and tended the land for millennia, in the process developing a deep understanding of plant and animal life. This series examines how humans are necessary to live in balance with nature and how traditional practices can inspire a new generation of Californians to tend their environment.
- NY Times: To Combat Climate Change, Start From the Ground Up (With Dirt)
- NY Times: A Boon for Soil, and for the Environment
- NY Times: Can Dirt Save the Earth?
- Washington Post: A secret weapon to fight climate change: dirt
- Upworthy: A down-and-dirty look at a groundbreaking discovery that could save the planet.
- Huffington Post: A Weapon Against Climate Change May Be Right Under Our Feet
- Fusion.net: An overlooked answer to climate change right beneath your feet
- The Atlantic: Healthy Soil Microbes, Healthy People
- FastCo: Restoring Global Soil Quality Is One Of The Best Things We Can Do For Climate Change
- Yes! Magazine: What’s a Carbon Farmer? How California Ranchers Use Dirt to Tackle Climate Change
- International Climate Initiative – and Hope – Emerges at COP21: The historic Paris Agreement for emissions reduction wasn’t the only groundbreaking thing to come out of COP21, the UN Global Climate Summit in December, 2015.
- “Regeneration Coalition” Press Release: Learn About the 4/1000 Initiative
- This Idea Could Transform Global Food Systems, from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland
- International Year of Soils: United Nations, 2015.
Key practices, principles and pioneering work of regenerative agriculture.
- Holistic/Managed Grazing: How to Fight Desertification and Reverse Climate Change
- Holistic/Managed Grazing: Soil Carbon Cowboys
- Healthy Soil=Healthy You: The ‘Dirt Cure’
- Healthy Soil=Healthy You: Healthy Soil Microbes, Healthy People
- Cover Crops: A Farming Revolution With Deep Roots in the Past
- Keys to Building Healthy Soil: Gabe Brown
- The Benefits of Composting
- No-Till Farming
- Biodiversity: The Hidden World Under Our Feet
- Biodiversity: Role of Soil Biology in Improving Soil Quality
- Biodiversity: Climate-Smart Soils, Paustian et al. (2016)
- Soil Carbon Restoration: Can Biology do the Job?
- Soil-Climate Connection Fact Sheet
- Soil and Carbon: Soil Solutions to Climate Problems
- Global Cooling by Grassland Soils of the Geological Past and Near Future
- Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas
- Long-term Climate Change Mitigation Potential with Organic Matter Management on Grasslands
- Grassland Management and Conversion Into Grassland: Effects on Soil Carbon
- Carbon Sequestration in Tropical Agroforestry Systems
- Carbon Sequestration Potential on Agricultural Lands: A Review of Current Science and Available Practices
- Regenerative Capitalism: How Universal Principles And Patterns Will Shape Our New Economy
- United Nations Conference on Trade and Development: Trade and Environment Review 2013: Wake Up Before It’s Too Late
- Climate Smart Soils: The Potential for Carbon Sequestration in Agricultural Soils
- A Review of the Potential for Soil Carbon Sequestration: by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
- The Feasibility and Cost-Effectiveness of Sequestering
- China’s National Ecosystem: Improvements in Soil Carbon
- Cost-Effective Methods: Improving Adoption of Soil Health and Carbon Sequestration Practices
- COMET: Farm and Ranch Carbon Accounting System
- Marin Carbon Project: Carbon Farming Plans
- Carbon Cycle Institute: DRAFT Carbon Farm Plan — ABC Ranch
- Carbon Farming vs Farming for Carbon: How to Improve Soil Organic Matter
- Open Agriculture Learning Series
- Soil Conservation: Success Stories and Tips from Across the Nation
- The Carbon Farming Solution
- Grass, Soil, Hope
- Braiding Sweetgrass
- Cows Save the Planet
- Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations
- Farming While Black
- Water in Plain Sight
- The Soil Will Save Us
- Farmacology: Total Health from the Ground Up
- Restoration Agriculture
- Permaculture, Designer’s Handbook
- Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture
- Holistic Management Handbook
- Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening: A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Healthy Garden
- The Rodale Book of Composting: Easy Methods for Every Gardener
- Tending the Wild
- See More From: Soil Not Oil Coalition
Soil Action Policy. This site, created by Farmers Footprint, Nerds for Earth and Kiss the Ground shows you how to contact your government representative and encourage them to learn about the importance of improving soil health through regenerative agriculture! soilpolicyaction.us
Some of the main policies, bills, and initiatives we’re tracking across California, the US and the globe:
- Regenerative Agriculture Industry Map (Ethan Soloviev)
- Lineages of Regenerative Agriculture (Short Version) (Ethan Soloviev)
- Find a local farm. Healthy Soil is the foundation for healthy food. Here’s a map to find local regenerative food grown by regenerative farmers that are focused on building healthy soil. (Created in collaboration with Regeneration International, Organic Consumers Association and Kiss the Ground). Search the map.
A platform for resources, information and action steps to support intersectional environmentalism and dismantle systems of oppression in the environmental movement, led by environmental activists and sustainability advocates. Learn more at www.intersectionalenvironmentalist.com
Did you know that building healthy soils on a global scale is one of the best ways to draw down enough carbon to prevent a catastrophic climate crisis? ―And carbon storage isn’t soil’s only superpower; the ways that soil stands to positively impact the lives of billions worldwide are tangible and immediate: replenished water cycles, restored fertility, and regenerated ecosystems. What’s not to love? Here are 10 ways to love the soil.
Today, your purchasing choices are more powerful than ever. — Regenerative agricultural systems produce healthier and tastier food, support clean air and water, and contribute to a future we can proudly pass on to our grandchildren. Kiss the Ground’s Purchasing Guide will illuminate the ways we can help build, support, and contribute to these systems right now, by making mindful purchasing decisions, starting today.
Knowing what is in your clothing and how it came to be made has defining implications for personal and planetary health. Fibershed’s Free Clothing Guide is designed to empower the decision-making process of all wearers—starting with you! We don’t often ask what’s in our clothing and we’re not provided an ingredients list, nor are we often offered information specific to who made our garments. Clothing manufacturing can be a black box of information for most of us. This guide offers a set of simple guidelines to use when considering your next clothing purchase, and some deeper explanation about the fibers and dyes that compose most of what we wear. We do not cover in depth the more than 8,000 synthetic chemical compounds used in clothing manufacturing because we’d need a much longer book for that. This guide offers information that will help you quickly reduce impact with the clothing you already own as well as providing information that will help you create a healthier and friendly ‘fiber and dye diet’ going forward, as you refine your next set of clothing choices.
Kiss the Ground’s Free Middle School Curriculum that we developed in partnership with Life Lab is designed to introduce young people to the magic of soil and the fascinating connection it has to the food we eat, our health and our climate. The 5-lesson curriculum, written to serve as supplemental material for the Next Generation Science Standards, teaches about the carbon cycle, photosynthesis, soil science, various agricultural practices, and concludes with a regenerative soil-based project. Our aim is to have this curriculum in every US state and translated for global distribution. It’s free, help us get the word out!
You might not think much about the soil under your feet. It’s just dirt, right? Actually, soil is an essential foundation for all life on earth! Soil affects the food we eat, the nutrients our natural ecosystems need, the air we breathe, and the climate that makes our planet habitable. Crazy connections, right?
Here’s the problem: Earth’s healthy soil is rapidly disappearing. This is impacting our food supply, ecosystems, and air. It is also speeding up changes to our climate.
And here’s the good news! We can all work together to restore soil’s health, and in doing so, help slow changes to our climate. As a Soil Hero, you become a part of the solution.
- An open source slide deck that connects the importance of soil health to business, identifies best practices and showcases private sector actions. The deck is usable by anyone to manipulate and adapt to fit your needs. Pull slides that are relevant to you and your audience, change colors to align with your brand, and share freely! Supporting information and statistics relevant to each slide are included in the notes sections for reference in discussions.
- Supporting appendix slide deck with a bit more detail for those interested in digging in and a list of resources.
- A compilation of soil health fact sheets from NRCS, FAO as well as infographics.
- Short animated videos that simplify the critical role soil health plays in agriculture and outline best practice solutions. Watch animated videos: Leaky System and Sources & Sinks.
Learn about and follow all the amazing organizations working to build healthy soil, grow nutritious food, and reverse climate change worldwide.
- American Farmland Trust
- Bionutrient Food Association
- Carbon Cycle Institute
- Carbon Underground
- Center for Food Safety
- Center for Ecoliteracy
- Catholic Relief Service
- Center for No-till Agriculture
- Climate Collaborative
- Chico State Regenerative Agriculture Initiative
- Community Environmental Council
- Composting Council Research and Education Foundation
- Earth Guardians
- Farmers Footprint
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations
- Green America
- Marin Carbon Project
- Nature Conservancy
- Organic Investment Cooperative
- Organic Consumers Association
- Point Blue Conservation Science
- Regeneration International
- Regen Network
- Regenerative Organic Certification
- Regeneration Canada
- Rodale Institute
- Savory Institute
- Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture
- Soil Health Academy
- Soil Solutions
- Soul Fire Farm
- Paicines Ranch
- Propagate Ventures
- Terra Genesis
- TomKat Ranch
Inspired? Become a Soil Advocate
We provide training, tools and support to those inspired by regenerative agriculture and healthy soils to become soil advocates.