Healthy Soil Means Healthy People

Soil health is essential for healthy organic produce.

Healthy soil is one of the main reasons why organic is the gold standard for food you can trust—it focuses on building health from the ground up. Plants rely on an entire soil ecosystem to absorb the minerals they need in order to grow healthy produce. U.S. organic standards were written with soil health as a central priority, since healthy soil is essential to supporting healthy people.  Organic Farmers Association believes that organic certification should require plant grown in soil.

Organic farmers focus on feeding soil microorganisms and building a healthy soil ecosystem rather than  just directly feeding plants fertilizers. Synthetic fertilizers give plants a narrower range of nutrients, which causes faster plant growth in exchange for fewer plant nutrients and a less nutritious food. 

Recently new scientific studies have demonstrated the wonder of soil microbes and healthy soil in transferring superpowers to our food.  In March 2019 a study from the Journal of Applied Ecology showed evidence that soil-grown organic farming promotes better biotic resistance to foodborne human pathogens than conventional production systems.  In May 2019, scientists released a study in the Journal Psychopharmacology showing that the soil bacterium, Mycobacterium vaccaecontains anti-inflammatory, immunoregulatory, and stress resilience properties.  This study indicates that diverse healthy soil can aid in reducing stress and anxiety and offers multitudes of properties outside of basic vitamins and minerals.  Ensuring that our food is grown in healthy diverse soil microbiomes increases the health properties of our food—health properties we still discovering and understanding.  

One teaspoon of healthy soil may contain a billion bacteria, several yards of fungal hyphae, thousands of protozoa and dozens of nematodes. Just the top four inches of one acre of healthy topsoil may contain 2000 pounds of bacteria, 2400 pounds of fungi, 900 pounds of algae, 900 pounds of earthworms, and 133 pounds of tiny protozoa.  A healthy soil ecosystem is incredible and holds the secrets to healthy plants and healthy humans. In contrast, food grown outside of a soil-based system misses all the health benefits that soil provides. It just isn’t the same.  

Organic Farmers Association and our certified organic farmer-members across the nation are united in our call that soil is essential for organic food.  Taking soil out of the equation creates a different product—one that cannot be classified as organic. Organic Farmers Association continues to demand that organic remain in the soil to provide consumers with the healthiest food our farmers can grow!  

The USDA continues to push that hydroponic soil-less production be allowed under organic certification and Organic Farmers Association continues to say NO!   It’s important to OFA that organic food has the highest standard of nutrition and supports healthy soil-based environments, and we know that is what consumers expect.  As organic consumers, you deserve to feel confident that your organic food was grown under conditions that result in the healthiest food possible. Help us uphold the high standards for organic food that you expect by supporting us this Organic Month. This September, join OFA as a supporter member for $57 and receive a free OFA water bottle.