Category Archives: Soil

Organic Farming Curbs the Spread of Foodborne Pathogens – New Study

Sustainable Pulse – Apr 19, 2019

Organic farming promotes natural resistance to common food-borne human pathogens, according to a study that evaluates the benefit of soil organisms. By protecting valuable species of dung beetles and soil bacteria, organic farming systems naturally act to clean up and decompose potentially pathogen-bearing animal feces.

Source: beyondpesticides.org/

While these natural systems suppress pathogens on organic farms, coventional chemical-intensive farms are left with higher levels of fecal residues and are therefore significantly more likely to yield produce carrying such foodborne pathogens as E. coli. The authors emphasize that curbing the spread of common foodborne pathogens could save thousands of lives and prevent millions of illnesses each year.

The study, “Organic farming promotes biotic resistance to foodborne human pathogens,” published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, compares dung beetle populations, soil bacteria diversity, and feces removal rates on 70 organic and conventional broccoli farm fields across the west coast of the U.S. In addition to studying field conditions, authors conducted additional microcosm studies to directly test the effects of dung beetles and soil microbes on the suppression of introduced E. coli.

Results from field analyses show that organic management practices lead to greater biodiversity among dung beetles and soil microbes, which translate to higher rates of feces removal. Microcosm results confirm that by removing fecal matter, the beetles and microbes retained by organic management reduce potential E. coli contamination. These new findings add to the list of ecosystem services unique to organic farms, further bolstering the case for organic as not only an ecological but an economical solution to global food production.

In the context of recently reviewed insect declines worldwide, this study also serves as a warning of yet another key ecosystem service that will certainly be lost unless a major agricultural transformation to organic systems is mobilized. Dung beetles, whose actions in soils not only protect against pathogens, but also unlock critical nutrients, are in decline. The impacts of dung beetles on soil fertility are vital to the sustainability of farms and pastures used to maintain livestock. By burying and processing feces on cattle farms, dung beetles introduce 80% more nitrogen into the soil than would otherwise remain. By increasing soil organic matter, dung beetles simultaneously increase water infiltration, thus stabilizing farms and heavily grazed areas against erosion, flooding, and drought.

Findings from the present study highlight the need for dung beetle diversity in addition to abundance, since some dung beetles bury feces more effectively than others. Notably, researchers find that the commonly introduced species O. nuchicornis, which tends to dominate over other species and reduce overall diversity, is less effective at burying feces, with consequences for both E. coli contamination and soil fertility. Similarly, previous work attests to the importance of soil microbial diversity for maintaining ecosystem services. The key to healthy produce and fertile soils, across the board, is diversity.

Due to agrochemical use, that precious diversity is in decline. Monitoring in Europe, according to the 2019 review of insect declines, shows the greatest terrestrial loss of insect biodiversity on record to date: more than 60% of documented dung beetle species are in decline. Soil microbial diversity, too, is threatened by continued application of pesticides in industrialized agriculture. Highly toxic gases known as “soil fumigants” are used on a wide range of high-value crops to control nematodes, fungi, bacteria, insects, and weeds. Soil fumigants wipe out entire soil communities, thus necessitating the use of other chemicals  to provide the fertility and pest control services that soil  organisms provide. In addition to fumigating soil, which intentionally kills all  living things in the soil, other chemical-intensive practices also threaten soil  life. Glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide, is also an antibiotic. Glyphosate-tolerant plants release glyphosate into the soil, where it has a continued impact on soil microbial diversity.

Beyond Pesticides holds the position that these patterns carry a lesson. Insects and microbes that act to control crop pests and fertilize the soil reduce the need for pesticide and chemical fertilizer use. Reliance on chemical controls creates a vicious treadmill: pesticide use kills natural agents of pest control, thus creating a demand for more pesticide use, which kills more of the beneficial organisms, and so on.

Join Beyond Pesticides in getting off the toxic treadmill and instead working to build a sustainable food system based on natural control systems. Be a model for your community by creating a pesticide-free zone in your home yard, neighborhood, or even jurisdiction. Add your pesticide free zone to the map by taking our Pesticide Free Zones Survey. Show your neighbors and beyond that a world free of pesticides is both desirable and achievable.

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

SOURCE

Biosludged feature film launched at Biosludged.com and BrighteonFilms.com – watch it now

Natural News – November 28, 2018 by: Mike Adams

Two years in the making, the film that’s sure to send shock waves through the “environmentalism” movement has now been launched. The feature documentary Biosludged is available to watch now at Biosludged.com or BrighteonFilms.com.

This powerful, hard-hitting documentary features EPA whistleblower and scientist Dr. David Lewis, author of Science For Sale – How the US Government Uses Powerful Corporations and Leading Universities to Support Government Policies, Silence Top Scientists, Jeopardize Our Health, and Protect Corporate Profits.

Biosludged reveals how the EPA is committing science fraud to allow the ongoing poisoning of our world with toxic sewage sludge that’s being spread on food crops. The criminality and fraud of what’s exposed in this film is truly mind-blowing.

The film also features many other scientists, researchers and citizen activists who are all working to shine the light on the grotesque practice of cities spreading toxic sewage sludge on farms, crop lands, city parks and forests.

Watch the full film at this link now.

SOURCE

From Bankrupt Dairy Farm to Profit: How Compost Saved a Dairy Farm 200K Per Year.

Raleigh Latham – Vimeo Notes: Saturday, April 21, 2018

Vimeo  (12 min) – Australian dairy farmers

I got a chance to interview Elaine Ingham back in January, and she went over one of her most remarkable stories…helping Dairy Farmers on the brink of collapse and suicide flip their operations from bankruptcy to being profitable within a year.

By composting their manure, they were able to save 200K a YEAR on inputs, reverse an environmental hazard(gross manure lagoons), and restore their soil beyond what was seen in generations. While the neighbors could only graze their cows once a season, the ranchers and dairies who used compost were able to graze their cows once every 10 days. What’s extra interesting was hearing how this spread from 3 farmers to 175 within 3 years!

I feel like this is so powerful because it’s simple, scalable, and scientific. Monitor the biology, create the right compost and compost teas, and any landscape can be restored to full productivity, regardless of scale, or damage.

Junk Planet: Is Earth the Largest Garbage Dump in the Universe?

February 22nd, 2018

Commentary on pollution of our air, ocean, water, soil, antibiotic,  GMO,  nano-particles, space junk, military waste.

As noted by Baher Kamal in his commentary on this study: ‘Though some forms of pollution have been reduced as technologies and management strategies have advanced, approximately 19 million premature deaths are estimated to occur annually as a result of the way societies use natural resources and impact the environment to support production and consumption.’ See ‘Desperate Need to Halt “World’s Largest Killer” – Pollution’ and ‘Once Upon a Time a Planet… First part. Pollution, the world’s largest killer’.

And that is just the cost in human lives.

So what are the main types of pollution and where do they end up?

Source

Documentary: In Search of Balance (5 min preview) “ It’s All Connected “

An exploration of a new paradigm of health, science, and medicine, based on the interconnections between us and nature.

At a genetic level, humans are literally connected to the rest of the natural world through our DNA. But today’s highly processed foods, pesticide based mono-culture farming methods, increasing urbanization, obsession with technology and destruction of the natural environment distance us further and further from the world we co-evolved with. We are out of balance with nature and the reductionist philosophy of modern western medicine, once immensely powerful, seems inadequate to answer today’s challenges.

Video link (5 min)

Documentary web site

How to Bring Minerals Back Into the Soil and Food Supply (12 min)

Story at-a-glance

  • If you eat processed foods, you’re being exposed to toxic herbicides, which mounting evidence shows are instrumental in promoting chronic disease
  • The continual depletion of minerals in food matches the progressive implementation of agricultural practices like mechanization, nitrogen-heavy fertilizers, and pesticide use—all of which damage soils
  • In order to receive the same amount of iron you used to get from one apple in 1950, by 1998 you had to eat 26 apples
  • Ionic mineral extractions from ocean water can be used in sustainable agriculture to remineralize damaged soils, and increase the nutrition of foods grown in it

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/05/25/food-minerals-soil-health.aspx