Greetings from Milan, where I am participating in the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition’s 8th International Forum on Food and Nutrition. This year, the Forum is focusing on food security, climate change and migrations, and sustainable food systems at the national and local levels.
The conversation continues today – CLICK HERE to check out the live stream!
Today is also World Soil Day, a day to recognize the importance of soil quality for food security, healthy ecosystems, and human well-being. This year’s theme is “Caring for the Planet starts from the Ground”.
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) asserts that “soils need to be recognized and valued not only for their productive capacities but also for their contribution to the maintenance of key ecosystem services.” Soil not only serves as the basis for food, feed, fuel, and fiber production, but is also central for the provision of clean water, nutrient cycling, and storing carbon.
According to the FAO, the current rate of soil degradation is compromising sustainable agriculture, food security, and the provision of ecosystem services, both now and for future generations. Maria-Helena Semedo of the FAO states that all of the world’s topsoil could diminish within the next 60 years if current rates of degradation continue. Other U.N. and government officials are calling for stronger management of the planet’s soils, stating that it could “make or break” climate change response efforts.
Thankfully, there are many researchers committed to better understanding soil health and promoting sustainable land management practices. This World Soil Day, Food Tank is highlighting 13 soil scientists from around the globe and their vital contributions to soil research and education: Dominique Arrouays, Megan Balks, Borris Boincean, Eric Brevik, Anya Byg, Arnulfo Encina Rojas, Jerry Glover, Maria de Lourdes Mendonca Santos, Alexander McBratney, Pardon Muchaonyerwa, Ashok K. Patra, Sieglinde Snapp, and Karen Vaughan.