I Dig You…Just Not Literally

You are powerful, miraculous, and we’re starting to learn. How to care for you, heal you, for the near and long term. But before we go further, I should call you by name.You are our precious Soil, Nature’s sexiest claim to fame.
Credit: United States Department of Agriculture

Roses can be red
Violets can be blue
Our flowers bloom beautifully
Because of what you do.

Our veggies and fruits
Grow from your gracious bounty
You feed us and cure us
We thank you, profoundly.

Sadly, we don’t
Pay attention or heed
To how you’re mistreated
Because of our greed.

We think of you as
A resource to mine
This cycle must stop
We must draw a line.

You are often walked over
Kicked up, or scraped off
What people don’t know
Are the battles you fought.

It’s time for the public
To learn of your journey
Let’s study your past
So the future doesn’t worry.

But before we go further
I should call you by name
You are our precious Soil
Nature’s sexiest claim to fame.

Let’s delve into how
Conventional farming
Has made you weak
More dense and less charming.

Fallowing has left
Your body bare naked
To the elements you’re exposed
You’re cracked and degraded.

Tillage has ripped
Living roots from your coffers
When it rains, when it pours
You can’t hold that precious water.

That water runs off
With fertilizer, galore
Into rivers and streams
The fish die and wash ashore.

Companies encourage
Constant chemical use
Farmers keep buying them
Their savings, reduced.

We monocrop our fields
Supported by federal policy
There’s no food in the soil
For microbial diversity.

We’ve emptied your pith
Your resources extracted
Your surface depleted
Your structure impacted.

Our planet is dying
We’ve ignored you too long
Our call to action is
To reverse all our wrongs.

A new wave of farmers
Are making a promise
To rebuild and invest
In the soil, they pay homage.

Their values include
Rebuilding your health
With practices that
Regenerate your wealth.

They keep you covered
And don’t let you fallow
Constant presence of roots
Means you don’t go sallow.

Instead of strong chemicals
To kill insects and weeds
They diversify and rotate
To naturally mislead.

Tillage is swapped
For a less angry process
That plants seeds without
Ripping up plant excess.

They diversify their fields
With more than one crop
This balances your diet
And lets your plants shop…

…for more kinds of nutrients
Than synthetics can provide
Vitamins and minerals
That you were once denied.

You build organic matter
From the practices described
You grow resilient and stronger
Gloria says, “You will survive.”

This philosophy of farming
Touts one basic thing
That you are sexy, resilient
You are worth respecting.

I agree with these farmers
More and more each day
You are sexy, dear soil
Let me tell you the ways.

When well fed and covered
You are active and airy
Chocolatey in your color
A reproductive sanctuary.

You are warm to the touch
You don’t crumble under pressure
Roots embrace your friendly walls
Holding water for good measure.

You thicken and form clumps
You aggregate and congeal
The roots build long networks
New fungi are appealed.

You seduce these new microbes
They make a home in your bed
They bring nutrients and water
So your plants are well fed.

You are powerful, miraculous
And we’re starting to learn
How to care for you, heal you
For the near and long term.

We’ve taken this charge
My colleagues and I
To make regeneration easier
At least, encourage a try.

We’ll advocate for policies
That reward these bold farmers
They are stewards of the land
Their skills we should garner.

While we make this pledge
On Valentine’s Day
Think of how sexy soil
Can be your <unconventional> new bae.



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