A letter from the editor.

“Thank you dirt, thanks a bunch, for my salad, my sandwich, my milk, and my munch. Cuz dirt, you made my lunch.”
~ Banana Slug String Band

I’ve been humming that song for the last few weeks as we put together this first-ever themed issue, devoted to all the many reasons why we shouldn’t treat our soil like dirt.

Michael Woolsey Photography

Perhaps our foremost aim in theming this issue is to spread the word that 2015 has been designated the International Year of the Soils by the United Nations General Assembly. It’s kind of a Lorax situation.

“Soils are essential for growing our food, yet they have no voice and few people speak out for them,” the UN explains.

While there are still Americans alive who endured the great Dust Bowl, the largest man-made ecological disaster of time, we continue to blithely misuse our most precious asset. As it takes an estimated 1,000 years to produce on centimeter of soil, it’s safe to assume that dirt is a limited resource. And with 95 percent of our food springing from the soil, nothing could be more basic to our ability to eat.

Locally, many of our agriculturalists are already tending their ground with the loving care it deserves. Singing Frogs Farm is the subject of a 9,000-plus-word profile at Craftsmanship Magazine, a story so well-written and fascinating that, instead of trying to match it, we just bought part of it. The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center repeatedly bears notice in these pages. Its important work with soil restoration, permaculture education, and innovative growing practices could fill an entire issue. But that’s for another time.

So, don’t feel silly if you’d like to hum a happy little tune to the ground beneath you. It truly did make your salad, your milk, you sandwich, and munch. Thanks, dirt, for making our lunch.

Gretchen Giles, Editor



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