Soil Today – Gone Tomorrow?

The practice of farming or agriculture goes back to thousands of years, when nascent farmers began to collect and plant wild grains. Since ancient times, the soil has been used to grow food for human beings, while allowing it to regain its health naturally. 

With the ever-increasing population and deforestation across the globe, the pressure on our soil has grown leaps and bounds, causing farmers to carry out agricultural activities on the same soil over and over again without allowing it to regain its nutrients naturally. Hence having to pump the soil with chemical fertilizers, which in the long run has terrible impacts on the soil as well as on the people consuming the food born from that soil. 

What is soil degradation and what are its impacts? 

Soil degradation is what happens when the quality of soil declines to a point where it has been depleted of natural resources, soil fertility and water. It is land that has lost the ability to support plants and animals.

According to UN reports, 40% of the world’s land can now be classified as degraded, most of which is caused by human food production. Growing food on degraded soil is close to impossible. Degradation also leads to the loss of plant and animal life and can act as a catalyst for the climate crisis by reducing the planet’s ability to absorb carbon. 

A change in our farming practices has never been more urgent. Executive secretary of the UN convention, Ibrahim Thiaw said “Land degradation is affecting food, water, carbon and biodiversity. It is reducing GDP, affecting people’s health, reducing access to clean water and worsening drought.” He further said “Modern agriculture has altered the face of the planet, more than any other human activity. We need to urgently rethink our global food systems which are responsible for 80% deforestation, 70% freshwater use and the single greatest cause of terrestrial biodiversity loss.” 

About 50% of the world’s economic output or $44tn a year is at risk because of land degradation. The economic benefit of restoring degraded land could amount to approx $130tn a year. 

Even world-renowned author, spiritual guru and educator, Sadhguru throws light on the gravity of the situation, saying – 87% of life on this planet be it microbes, insects, birds, human beings or plants & trees, is sustained by the soil. Our soil is in grave danger right now. “The UN says we have soil left only for 80-100 harvests, which means another 45-60 years of agriculture. After that, we will not have the soil to produce food. 30% of India’s land is already degraded and 90% of India’s states are seeing soil turn into desert. This means that nothing can be cultivated there. So protecting the soil for future generations of this land is the most important thing.” 

What measures can we take to prevent Soil degradation?

In order to restore degraded land one of the most imperative measures we must take is changing our farming practices. We must curb industrial farming and focus on more sustainable methods like terrace farming, contour farming or Hydroponic farming. Many farmers fail to take these measures because of lack of education and lack of access to resources. UN executive Thiaw called for governments and private sectors to invest in restoring degraded land. This in the long run would safeguard the planet’s soils, water resources and fertility. 

Sadhguru says that out of the many scientific nuances on how to handle this problem of land degradation, one of our main objectives should be to ensure that there is a minimum of 3-6% organic content in agricultural soil. “This would make our soil vibrantly living and sustainably thriving across all agricultural lands.” Incentives need to be provided to farmers to maintain this minimum organic content. 

Where Gourmet Garden steps in 

Startups like Gourmet garden are coming in to provide a solution to the soil degradation problem, and the lack of food supply in the future with our Naturoponic farms and Organic farming methods. 

Hydroponic farming is a form of soilless farming where water-based mineral nutrient solutions are used to grow plants or crops. These kinds of farming methods reduce the dependency on soil to produce food and reduce the pressure on land, hence working as a preventive to soil degradation. 

Organic farming on the other hand encourages soil flora and fauna, improving soil formation and creates more stability for the land. It discourages the use of harsh chemicals, therefore contributing towards the preservation of the natural environment. Research indicates that Organic farming can eliminate about 500 million pounds of pesticides and chemicals from entering the environment on an annual basis. Hence via Organic farming, we can produce food, while establishing an ecological balance to prevent soil fertility problems. 

Gourmet Garden is essentially an e-commerce business that provides fresh food essentials produced by both Naturoponic farming and Organic farming. Both our farming practices are holistic and healing in nature for the environment. We have our own farms where we conduct Naturoponic Farming, using 80% less water at a reduced cost of farming. We have also partnered with certified organic farmers. 

Brainwaves like Gourmet Garden are here today to change the world. You can change the world by making the right choices for yourself and for the planet. Take a step towards the right direction. Choose Organic. Choose Hydroponic. Choose safety, health and goodness for the future and for your children.