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 – The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture

Curiosity was instrumental in creating Brooksdale’s new “Sustainable Soils” project, spurred by the question “how many bacteria and fungi do we have in our existing soil?” The project, supported by VanCity, combines A Rocha’s vision of education and caring for creation: recognizing that the health of all organisms is connected to the quality of soil within an ecosystem. As our CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) program grows, and we seek to provide nutrient dense vegetables for members and visitors, we are brought to the foundation of “growing” SOIL!

We have created 3 test plots which will allow us to experiment with “no-till, permanent bed” farming. The method is based on research that shows tilling soil can inhibit vital mycorrhizal and bacterial relationships with the roots of plants for certain crops. This relationship can allow for otherwise unavailable nutrients in the soil to be absorbed by plants (ie. a carrot!), a process called called “nutrient cycling”. In exploring the soil-food-web, we find ourselves praising God for this amazing and intricate world beneath our feet. We have purchased a new “power harrow” for our walk-behind tractor, which will help greatly in managing the soils!


Soil Workshops

Keep in the loop for our upcoming community workshops held June – September at 2:00pm. Workshops will focus on composting, vermicompost, biochar, bokashi, and compost tea extract: all ways of ‘growing soil’ in your own backyard.

Sustainable Soils Project Partners

The joy of farming (and being human!) is that there are always new lessons to learn and apply. This 3 year project will allow us to partner with two other local organizations, Ravenwood Biochar and RootShoot Landscape Design who will be aiding us with building up the soil in different ways. We look forward to continuing to steward the soil at Brooksdale.

Finally, a couple more quotes to inspire (and dazzle!) you.

If we are to have any hope of enduring as a species well into the future, we would be wise to bring back and maintain biological diversity in our soils, and acknowledge the complex processes that occur beneath our feet.

RootShoot Landscape Design –

Did you know that one teaspoon of good garden soil (about as much as can be balanced on your pinky finger) contains one billion bacteria of between 20,000 and 30,000 species, several yards of fungal hyphae, several thousand protozoa and a few dozen nematodes?

Jeff Lowenfels & Wayne Lewis – Teaming with Microbes

Planting a Seedling