Soil quality has been progressively declining over the last few decades as commercial farming practices have gained ground. This directly affects the nutrient level of foods grown on this nutrient-stripped soil, leading to disturbances in our pH levels and a variety of health problems. Soil and Health aims to reverse this trend through offering composting and other green products and solutions that will help you consume safe, chemical-free food and live a more sustainable life.
Composting is an age-old technique to fertilize soil naturally. It recycles organic materials waste products,and produces a nutrient-rich soil conditioner, compost. It is simple to do and the benefits are many. Composting reduces our carbon footprint by diverting organic waste from landfills. It improves nutrition in the food we eat by enriching soil quality in home gardens and commercial farms. It reduces the need for synthetic fertilisers, thereby reducing toxic chemicals in our food.
We provide individuals and communities with simple and effective composting products and solutions that involve minimal fuss and mess. We provide a range of composting products such as home compost bins, composters for apartments, composting medium etc. We also provide know how on the composting process and how to make compost at home on our website and on our YouTube channel. We also offer Rent-A-Cutlery to enable you to have zero-waste events.
improve soil health to improve your health
From food supplies to water filtration to chemical and pathogen exposures, soils influence health in more ways than most of us realize.
Before the green revolution, farmers fertilised their land using natural, organic compost such as forest soil, wood ash, sludge from lakes, manure and other such sources. With the advent of the green revolution came the unfettered use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. While this resulted in huge gains in agricultural productivity for India, it came at a cost. It introduced toxic chemicals to the soil (and our food) and along with over-farming, they reduced the levels of several nutrients. A study by the Institute of Soil Science, Bhopal, reported that large parts of soil in India is deficient in zinc, boron, iron and protein.
And this stripping of soil nutrition directly impacts the nutrition in our food. A 2004 study in the Journal of American College of Nutrition examined the nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits. The study reported significant decline in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past half century. According to reports by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad, the level of protein in Indian food, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, is rapidly declining. Between 1993-99 and 2011-12, protein levels in beans have dropped by 60 per cent, 10 percent in brown lentils and 5 per cent in goat meat.
Low levels of nutrition in food strongly increases the risk of diseases like obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, auto-immune diseases, cancer, arthritis and several others.
So what is one to do to take charge of one's food safety?
- Compost. Use the compost fertilizer to grow your own safe vegetables and fruit and/or donate any excess compost to community gardens and farms.
- Grow your own food as much as possible using compost fertilizer and pesticides (neem powder etc.) and avoiding synthetic fertilisers.
- Buy organic foods from local farmers where feasible.
- Prepare food using methods that preserve nutrition such as steaming, grilling and stir frying.
How to improve soil health in the long term by living sustainably
As stewards of earth, there are some key steps we can take to reduce harmful chemicals at source, before they get into the soil.
- The 4 Rs: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (in order of importance)
- Refuse: Refuse single use items, like disposable coffee cups, straws, bottles and bags. Refusing will help reduce a lot of waste from the very beginning. Look for reusable alternatives.
- Reduce: Buy less stuff by being mindful of what you really need.
- Reuse: When you're considering throwing away a used item and buying a new one, ask yourself if you can find a way to reuse or repair it.
- Recycle: Recycling reduces landfill contributions and energy consumption
- Chemical-free living: Avoid using chemical cleaning products and use natural ones where possible. Here's a simple recipe to make your own bio enzyme for all-purpose cleaning.
- Segregate: Segregate your waste at source itself. 60% to 75% of waste in India is biodegrable. When segregated and composted, this waste is valuable. When not segregated, it renders unusable even the remaining 25% to 40% recyclable waste. Click here to learn more about how to segregate. Click here to learn the composting process.