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Erde 350 iStock 000010068472SmallHealthy soils are the key to food security. They protect our climate and water and are the habitat of one quarter of our planet’s biodiversity. Their significance is to be spotlighted in 2015 by the UNO which has declared it the International Year of Soils. Since preservation of the soil, a resource essential to life itself, has always been the core principle of organic agriculture, professional specialists of Naturland offer regular training to become a “soil practician”. In 2015, the Naturland farmers will again be given opportunities to refresh and extend their knowledge about the soil and how best to care for it. The kick-off starts at the International Green Week in Berlin in January at the Naturland activities area where everything centres on the topic of soil.

The fact that fertile soil is in limited supply whilst being a crucial factor in the battle against hunger, species loss and climate change is gradually dawning on public consciousness. In order to raise global awareness of the necessity to conserve the soil, the General Assembly of the United Nations has declared 2015 International Year of Soils. Our soil, a reservoir of carbon, nutrients and moisture, is under threat: every year we lose about 6 million hectares of fertile arable land due to improper agricultural use, contamination with pollutants and by it being built on. Demand for fertile soil is increasing in the same measure as it is being lost: population growth is leading to increased demand for food and renewable resources.

Acquiring expertise in soil conservation
Organic agriculture makes a considerable contribution to keeping soils fertile. Organic farmers manage their farms by applying diversified crop rotation methods and abstaining from synthetic chemical pesticides, thereby encouraging soil life and enhancing soil fertility. The training sessions for soil practicians which Naturland’s professional specialists offer each year deal with the soil as an ecosystem, hands-on and in depth. The course allows those in the field (both newly converted farms and experienced organic producers), advisers and scientists to exchange their experiences and expertise. The course modules, which include both practical and theoretical units, are held throughout the year, mainly in the open, and provide ideas and instructions on how to put the protection of the soil and the environment into actual practice in a manner applicable to the trainees’ own organic farms.

Soil show
Naturland will be bringing the topic of soil to life for consumers this year, starting with the International Green Week, the leading food and agricultural fair, in Berlin. There will be a bouldering wall, an attraction for school kids where they can take their own soil samples, and a soil memory card game, all on the Naturland activity area, to provide a fascinating introduction to the world below the surface. These activities are designed to show families with children, school kids (registration required) and anyone else interested in the topic that soils are more than dirt under our feet or dead material.