“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”
– Wendell Berry
I have always felt a connection to the world around me. From a very early age I understood that nature could heal us and provide us with everything we need to thrive. What I know now, that I didn’t know back then, is that in order for this to continue, we must conserve our natural resources.
We need to better understand the intricate balance between the health of our soil and the health of our seas. Protecting this balance will not only keep our planet healthy, but our bodies as well.
Globally, we’ve put tremendous pressure on our planet’s resources – and as our population grows, so too does the demand for food, in particular protein. The rise of fast, convenient and cheaper food has provided certain benefits, but it has also disconnected many of us from a more intimate relationship with our land.
It was while exploring the link between how our food is grown, and the ever expanding population of people with preventable diseases (including heart disease, diabetes and obesity), that I was inspired to make my most recent short film, Food for Thought, Food for Life. This 15 minute documentary film examines the food revolution currently underway: one that addresses climate change, its impacts on agriculture, the importance of local food sources, and soil health as a determinant for human health.
Cropland and pasture cover 40 per cent of earth’s land; because of this, farming is a leader in both water usage and water pollution, but there are ways to mitigate this. According to Frederick L. Kirschenmann, author of “Cultivating an Ecological Conscience,” creating biologically healthy soil reduces the need for fertilizers and pesticides by up to 90 per cent, and lessens the amount of water used for irrigation.
Although global awareness about our food system is growing, we still face many challenges in how to solve them. Food for Thought, Food for Life addresses a few of these challenges – highlighting the importance of listening to what the land can teach us, as it demonstrates how by restoring ecosystems we can produce healthy, nutritious and sustainable food choices. The film also discusses the role of innovation technology in managing, protecting and enhancing soil health.
In light of all this, individuals must think about their actions. Small ripples can create big waves – being conscious of our roles in global issues, taking initiative and making improvements will help our own health as well as the soil’s health.
As a board member of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, I’ve seen firsthand the progress that can be made when you work in harmony with all Mother Earth has to offer. Located just outside of New York City, Stone Barns’ highly-diversified, four-season farm also serves as a laboratory for finding creative and sustainable methods of agriculture. In addition, the farm provides education to farmers as well as the public who are committed to being part of a food revolution that benefits the health of our planet and ourselves.
No matter the medium, my goal is to start a conversation about the things I’m most passionate about; with this in mind I created Protect What Is Precious, a place where you will find resources to help you make small, manageable changes that benefit the earth.
What is good for our land is good for the sea, and by taking care of yourself you are taking care of the planet. It’s a beautiful, abundant and mysterious world – and the good news is that the problems we face are solvable. I believe that communication and conversation lead to collaboration, and together we can find local and global solutions that help the planet and ourselves. Dig in to dig it!