Holy Soil in Our Hands

Soils are a secret of creation. How do we obtain and sustain them? Jakes Jayakaran from South India, who has been a consultant in the reclamation of eroded soils and biodynamic farming in China for 40 years, spoke about this at the Agriculture Conference. Here is in an excerpt from his talk.

It took 100 million years to develop healthy soils. We inherited soil as a gift from the living earth and cosmos so that all living beings could thrive and live. Soils are sacred because they arise from the activity of the omnipresent cosmic spirit. In the last 100 years, the population has increased by 400 percent. Every year, many countries in Asia use, on average, over 200 kilos of chemical fertilizers per hectare and over 12 kilos of deadly poisons per hectare to grow crops. Researchers and policymakers believe in soil-less agriculture, vertical farming, hydroponics, precision agriculture, and the use of drones, satellites, smart irrigation, artificial intelligence, and robotics. Billions of human souls are waiting to incarnate on Earth in the next 50 years.

The earth is a living organism. It breathes, and it has a unique digestive system. It creates and sustains millions of life forms. It has its own intelligence and self-regulating mechanisms. What can we do to save our soils from what today looks like a hopeless situation?

The highest priority is the relationship between soil and water. We must learn to preserve the soils before they are washed away: contour ploughing and regular swales that start from the highest point of the watershed are feasible on a large scale; long-term financial investments in land repairs are needed. Rainwater must be kept where it falls—we need to keep our soils covered and moist. Organic carbon and minerals can improve soils through green manure with legumes. Planting trees also helps on farms, especially in the tropics, because they prevent soils from drying out further and help keep rising temperatures bearable and under control. And we need effective ways to produce biodynamic compost so that chemical fertilization can be eliminated.

Translation Laura Liska
Image Jakes Jayakaran; Photo: Xue Li

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