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9 December 2022

World Soil Day was celebrated on Monday, with this year’s focus being on the importance of soils for global food security. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) marked the day by publishing their report highlighting that black soil, a very fertile type of soil found in Russia, central Europe and Canada, is at greater risk from climate change and biodiversity loss. 

To celebrate the day the SSA shared a clip of its panel discussion bringing together Sadhguru, founder of the global Save Soil campaign, George Monbiot, author and journalist, Vicki Hird, author and Head of Sustainable Farming at Sustain, and Sir Tim Smit, founder of the Eden Project, to discuss the importance of soil health for the future of the planet.

COP15 on biodiversity is currently being held in Montreal, Canada and has recognised the importance of soils and soil biodiversity. In the draft for the COP15 meeting, various international soil-focused organisations including the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative, have been asked to work on implementing the post-2020 global biodiversity framework in regards to soil-related targets.

A new report by Sustain highlights that UK farmers receive a very small percentage of profit from the food they produce. Farmers are expected to protect soils and nature, but Sustain concluded more needs to be done for them to make a living to do this, with them often receiving less than 1p of profit from food produced.

The UK Farm Soil Carbon Code consortium published its report on how to keep high integrity within UK soil carbon markets and discussed it on BBC Farming Today. Through a set of minimum standards, the report seeks to provide a mechanism for protecting and ensuring fairness for both farmers and buyers of carbon credits in the soil carbon market. 

Global markets have seen a rise in the awareness of the importance of soils, with major growth in projected soil amendment and soil testing equipment markets. Soil amendments are often used to improve the productivity of soils and can include minerals, chemicals and organic material.

To improve education around soils for children, the Country Trust has launched a ‘plant your pants’ campaign. The campaign aims for 10,500 children to get their hands in soil between March and June 2023, and will be providing printed and digital resources to schools across the country. It will bring together soil scientists, teachers, families and farmers.

Oscar Smith, a 17 year old teenager, has completed a 900-mile cycle around the UK and Ireland to raise awareness of the need for better soil health. The cycle was part of Sadhguru’s Save Soil campaign ‘Cycle for Soil’, and hopes to have shown the government the importance of the soil crisis.

Green Matters has provided advice on how you can naturally add nitrogen to your garden soils. Nitrogen is important to help plants to grow. Natural ways to add nitrogen include coffee grounds and eggshells. 

New research has looked at what impacts the amount of minerals available to protect soil carbon in the surface of soils. It found that climate change and the productivity of plants control the proportion of minerals available to protect soil carbon, making soil carbon on the surface more vulnerable to climate change.