Taking care of soil carers

Seven stories for radical soil care, OVAM
“Soil care is a practice. It is something that happens day in and day out. In that sense, soil policy should not only be about how to protect soils, but is also about how to take care of the people who take care of soils.”

Hans Vandermaelen

Soil care is a new and inspiring narrative for public policy and spatial planning.

Within climate policies and sustainable development initiatives agroecology is today promoted under the popular discourse of nature based solutions and ecosystem services. This label seems to suggest that nature can be simply taped into as a source of service delivery. Agroecology, however, is a practice of growers and carers for the soil, and it is hard work. Agroecology relies on cultural soils that exist as they are regenerated and are dependent on the care work that is extended to them. Agroecology also requires the permanent presence of people that with all their senses pay attention to the seasons, the growth and maturing of plants, the weather conditions they suffer and benefit from, the interaction with a whole web of life that contributes to the health of plants and animals. 

In urbanising societies farmers are pushed out of the landscape. Farming is often looked down upon and poorly paid. Urban functions are competing over farmland. Living close to farmland is made difficult. The interests of farmers are hardly represented in urban constituencies. Caring for the soil however is not possible when there will be no soil carers left.

See Zeven verhalen voor een radicale bodemzorg (Dutch) 

Building Block: Healthy Soil Scape