Elementor #45

Happy Soil

is a project in which any one of us can take part. The project demonstrates in a simple manner what needs to change if we are to remedy the current development, mitigate negative climatic phenomena and begin to refill empty wells with water.

In healthy, happy soil, billions of soil organisms take care of water retention and thus establish a favourable climate. This life in soil has been drastically disrupted in the name of our ever-increasing yields and ever-cheaper agricultural production.

By modifying our consumer behaviour and caring for soil directly can we decide whether life in soil will be preserved there where it has survived and restored elsewhere.

What can I do to replenish water in the landscape?

About 40 % of municipal waste is currently made up of biowaste which you can sort, compost and return into soil. Compost makes soil rich in food for soil organisms and in humus which retains water and nutrients. Every gram of compost is significant. Compost can improve water retention of surfaces around buildings. Even if your house is surrounded only by grass, it is important to give it enough humus which is able to hold water. In summer months, the grass will cool down with evaporation and as the surface temperature will stay pleasant, around 20 – 24°C, there will be no hot air blowing up into your windows.
Biowaste collection should form part of every waste management system. Organic leftovers from your household can then either become a source of material for biogas plants or be composted in municipal composting plant. Compost is a valuable organic fertilizer which improves the quality of public greenery and especially agricultural soil. Food for microorganisms which retain water in soil thus returns into ground.
The lease of agricultural soil is a marginal issue for most of us. Proprietors can, however, significantly influence the quality of care for their lands. To that end, they need to obtain information on soil quality and to include the quality metrics in the lease contract. The farmer working leased soil is then accountable for eventual damage and is interested in maintaining the soil at least in the same state in which he or she had acquired it at the beginning of the lease.

With guidance from research institutions and in cooperation with certification authorities and active farmers, we are establishing a set of rules which, when observed, will allow farmers to designate soil with the label HAPPY SOIL. The rules are based on existing regulations valid for ecological agriculture. For ecological farmers, the obtention of HAPPY SOIL certification will therefore be simple and straightforward. For conventional farmers, the rules will constitute practical guidance as to how to improve the quality and water-retention capacity of arable soil. The certification will also offer them the opportunity to distinguish their produce and therefore to get better value for it on the market. We welcome the participation of any subject which can bring interesting observations and suggestions or is interested in HAPPY SOIL certification. If you wish to link with us, please contact us by email.

We further aim to spread the certification, which we are going to pilot in cooperation with German partners, into other EU states through agricultural organizations and, eventually, to push to implement it as an EU certification across the Union. We are going to engage agricultural organizations and invite them into the consultation process concerning the certification already in the course of the project so that the subsequent spreading of the certification into other EU states is well prepared.

To make responsible shopping work, we are preparing a consumer mobile app which will enable the consumer to scan an EAN barcode and see product information saved in the database of the HAPPY SOIL system. The consumer can thus verify whether the product comes from happy soil and also look at which farmer grew it and where the plot of land is located. We are further preparing a number of supporting functions which we need to test with users. You can support us by getting involved in the HAPPY SOIL app testing. Share your email address with us and we will send you further detailed information on the testing process and on benefits which we can offer as part of our cooperation.

WHERE DOES WATER LEAK AWAY

All water surfaces and courses only contain 10 % of usable water while 90 % stays in soil – but now soil is losing its ability to retain water.

WHY IS LIVING SOIL HAPPY?

Living organisms maintain water in soil so that they have enough for themselves – and thus keep it for us as well.

HOW DOES CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR AFFECT SOIL?

The consumer determines in his shopping choices whether it pays to be a responsible farmer and land manager.