World Soil Day is on December 5th every year. This annual awareness day aims to raise understanding of the importance of soil quality for human well-being, food security and the ecosystems.
Soil is the top layer of the earth, which is the layer we are all familiar with. But many of us don’t know much about this layer until we go to plant a garden, and we discover that we have a lot of clay or sand in our soil. Soil is made up of organic and inorganic matter, air and water, and the mixture depends on the way the soil is managed or neglected, which in turn has a large impact on how plants grow. We are dependent on soil for our food. The management and condition of the soil makes the difference between good plant growth and a thriving ecosystem, all the way down to a baron wasteland.
We all depend on soil for our food, so the more we understand it, the better the human race thrives, from our small family backyard gardens to the beautiful and bountiful fields of our Iowa croplands.
A fun way to celebrate World Soil Day with children is to talk with them about where their food comes from. Tell them that soil made their lunch, and then explain why. Let’s have grilled cheese sandwiches, carrots stick, apple slices and milk for lunch. One by one, trace each food back to the soil. Example: Bread is made from grain that grows in the soil. Cheese and butter are made from milk that comes from cows that eat corn and grass and hay that all grow in the soil! Apples come from trees that grow in the soil! Carrots actually grow down in the ground in the soil! Whatever foods you serve, have fun with your children tracing them back to the soil while celebrating World Soil Day!
Author: Vicki Starks, Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative Early Childhood Education Associate for Fayette County.