Monthly themes have been designated to narrow the focus and provide greater insight to various areas of soil science. To kick off the IYS, "Soils Sustain Life" was selected for January. To give you a taste of how locally and abroad soils sustain life I have solicited assistance from a colleague from across the globe to help me with this post! We'll begin in my backyard of California, USA.
Soils sustain life for Californians!
California contains ecological wonders and unique crops that are supported by its favorable climatic conditions and diverse soils. Soils sustain life in California through plant production of building materials for housing, textiles for clothing, and wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and nuts to enjoy as well as meat and dairy products. Agricultural production in California is competitive with many countries in the world!
Soil supports the growth of some of the largest plants in the world. California contains coastal redwood trees, one of these amazing organisms prized for both the majestic beauty as well as a building material. The Giant Sequoia (shown below), commonly found inland in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California does not grow as tall as the redwood, but is known for its wide base (diameter) and longer life-span.
Unique crops such as artichokes are grown and harvested along the Central Coast. Castroville, California is known at the artichoke capital of the world. Deep fried artichokes are a must to try when visiting this area!
Soil provide feed and forage for beef and dairy farmers in California. The University of California Elkus Ranch provides an opportunity for kids of all ages to learn about ranching and the soils that support this industry.
And now we travel around the world to see how soils sustain life for South Africans!
Thank you to Coenraad Frankel of Agrimotion in South Africa for his contribution of the following section to today's blog post!
South Africa is known for its diversity and mixture of cultures and flavours. That's why we call ourselves the rainbow nation. The soil under our feet is no different as it sustains our freedom, our heritage and our amazing landscapes.
From the outskirts of the Eastern Cape where Elizabeth Xginga raises her 5 children using the small land area available to her to grow root vegetables such as cassava...
...to the Northern part of Limpopo where our wildlife is sustained by the diverse habitat they call home...
And the apple orchards of the Boland...
...soil plays a critical part in its sustainability. Without it this rainbow nation we call home would not be the same and the possibility of a bright future for this great nation would be less colourful. We celebrate the year of soils on the African continent by remembering what makes it all possible - the soil under our feet!!
To learn more about IYS and monthly themes: https://www.soils.org/iys/monthly-videos