Chefs for Healthy Soil Launches for World Soil Day

Through Chefs for Healthy Soil, chefs across the country are joining the regenerative agriculture movement to support transformative food and agriculture policies. Their involvement also helps educate lawmakers, the media, and consumers about the inextricable link between soil health, food quality, and climate change.

Chef in a black apron looks over a counter of freshly prepared food
Credit: iStock

Katherine Miller of Table 81 is our guest co-author for the blog. Katherine consults on strategy with organizations like NRDC to solve some of the world's most intractable problems, like climate change, food justice, and hunger. Katherine previously was Vice President for Impact at the James Beard Foundation, where she got to know many of the Chefs for Healthy Soil.

The UN General Assembly declared the first World Soil Day in 2014 to raise awareness of the imminent crisis related to soil quality and health worldwide. Now, eight years later, we are beginning to truly appreciate how important our soils are to human health, economic opportunities, and the ability of communities to survive and thrive. This World Soil Day, the role of soils in producing healthy, nutritious food is highlighted in the 2022 theme “Soil: where food begins.”

Our lives depend on soil - the mix of mineral and organic matter combined with air, water, and microbes that house, nurture, and feed microscopic life, animals, and plants. Our food is grown in soil, but soil also helps to sustain Earth’s life-giving systems, like the water and carbon cycle. Healthy soil helps mitigate the effects of climate change, including protecting against erosion and flooding and storing carbon. Without healthy soils, every living creature on Earth is at risk. 

On this World Soil Day, NRDC is launching the Chefs for Healthy Soil, a partnership with chefs from around the country to help us tell the story of soil and inspire people to take action together to transform our agricultural system. Chefs have long understood the importance of eating seasonally and sourcing more locally. Good soil health practices result in a healthier environment and stronger local communities. Chefs for Healthy Soil are uniquely positioned to help reach decision-makers at food companies, members of Congress, and consumers and ask them to support a food system-wide transition to regenerative agriculture practices. Chefs know that moving to regenerative farming will result in healthier soils, vibrant communities, and a more delicious food system. 

Chefs can help their customers understand the impact of menu choices on the planet. The quality of the soil impacts everything they serve. Healthy soils support healthy communities and grow nutritious, healthy produce. Contaminated and unhealthy soils deliver foods of the same quality.

The first group of chef ambassadors includes Abra Behrens (Granor Farms), Michael Haskett (MB Hasketts), Adrian Lipscombe (40 Acres), Matthew McClure (Woodstock Farm), Ryan Nitschke (Luna), Jamie Simpson (Culinary Vegetable Institute), Nick Wallace (Nick Wallace Culinary) and Crystal Wahpepah (Wahpepah’s Kitchen). We are also excited to collaborate with Zero Foodprint,who work with chefs and local businesses to fund “table to farm” projects that fund regenerative agriculture practices directly on farms.

These chefs, along with scientists, farmers, and other chefs from around the country, will make the case that supporting regenerative farmers and ranchers should be a top priority for companies and Congress. More than one hundred farmers informed NRDC’s strategy around regenerative agriculture and soil; now, over 30 chefs will take up their call to deepen the connection between consumers and the farmers who grow their food through meaningful changes in agricultural policy and markets.

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