The Week in Soil

Michael Gove has bowed to the pressure of trade associations who say preparations for a no-deal Brexit are too time-consuming and expensive and is delaying policy action on chemicals, pesticides, plastics, clean air and waste. 32 industry groups urged the SoS for Defra to halt all food, farming & environmental policy consultations ‘as a matter of urgency’. The news has frustrated groups desperate to see urgent action on land management and environmental policy.

Keep up with all the latest on Brexit in relation to farming and food at Sustain’s dedicated newspage.

The government are currently seeking views on Protecting and Enhancing England’s Trees and Woodlands. The consultation closes on 28 February.

A further consultation seeks suggestions for improving management of water in the environment, and closes on 12 March. Responses can be filed here.

The SSA were invited to attend an RSA/City University for Food Policy Food Thinkers event launching the EAT-Lancet commission in London and debating what a Sustainable Future for Food, Health & Planet looks like. A full video of the panel discussion can be viewed here. The EAT-Lancet ‘Food in the Anthropocene’ report, was published earlier this year and sets scientific targets for human & planetary health through diet.

Environment advocates in Tehran are surely celebrating as a Soil Conservation Bill that was proposed in December 2014 has finally been passed. The country will now benefit from a comprehensive law on the protection of soil resources.

The latest update from the soil conservation movement in America: this Illinois farmer has replaced soil inputs with soil-friendly practices such as nutrient management, biologicals and cover crops, with profoundly positive results: ‘Money matters in the end. We now spend less on our farm, yet have either maintained or increased yield everywhere.’

It’s the season to start prepping garden beds for a successful harvest later in the year. This piece describes the first steps and outlines the properties of common soil amendments, in a quick easy guide to improving garden soil health.

It’s also the right time of year to be taking soil samples, a recommended activity for those that want to work to improve their soil structure and fertility. Here the procedures and supplementary activities of this valuable process are presented.

And here’s a strong case for vermicomposting, or the creation of ‘the world’s most nutrient rich fertiliser’ with worm farming.