Soil, it’s a wonderful thing

Monday 10th July 2023

Here at Yeo Valley, we often say that the key to our planet’s future is quite literally under our feet. And we’re not the only ones – earlier this year, George Monbiot said in The Guardian: “Beneath our feet is an ecosystem so astonishing that it tests the limits of our imagination.”  

Did you know that… 

  • Soil is responsible for around 95% of our food production, yet we know very little about it.
  • One gram of soil is around a quarter of a teaspoon, and this may harbour up to 10 billion micro-organisms – most of which are still unexplored.
  • Soil stores more carbon than the atmosphere and all the world’s plants and forests combined, which means that soil is one of our most important weapons in the fight against climate change. 
The answer is under our feet…

As organic farmers, we’re always trying to find out more about what’s beneath our feet. Regenerative organic farming is based on nourishing the soil, creating a healthy, living ecosystem. Decades of industrial farming have taken their toll on our planet and serious questions are being raised about the future of our food production. 

The European Commission proposed the continent’s first soil law, intending to undo some of the damage done by intensive farming and mitigate global heating. Research indicates that this could help absorb carbon from the atmosphere and ensure sustainable food production. 

At Yeo Valley Organic, 20 of our farmers are in a pilot project to better understand soil, it’s impact and possibilities in our climate crisis. In one year, the project has collected 11,000 bags of soil across over 1,100 fields and found over 18,000 worms.

A sample from just one of 840 fields being measured

Back in 2022, we decided to take part in the ‘Plant your Pants’ (World Soil Day – Yeo Valley Regenerative Farming) experiment to celebrate UK’s Soil Awareness week. Fast-forward 6 months and we were excited to see the results…. spoiler alert there wasn’t much left! Plant your pants update – spoiler, the soil ate our undies!

Find out more about how we’re working with expert partners and farmer led social enterprise the Farm Carbon Toolkit (FCT) to understand the real impact of soil carbon stocks on our farms and how it can help our climate emergency on our regenerative farming website.

If you want to know more about how Yeo Valley Organic is contributing to improving soil health, visit our Regen website.

Comments on “Soil, it’s a wonderful thing”

  • Amazing research. This needs to go global to save our planet. Well done.

    Rosalind White on 13th July 2023 at 7:10 am

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