SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – Illinois will celebrate the first-ever Soil Health Day and Week through a farmer-led effort.
Farmers and soil health advocates from the Illinois Stewardship Alliance Soil Health Caucus drafted and submitted to the General Assembly SJR44 and HJR64, a joint resolution to create a Day and Week celebration of the Soil Health March 7-11, with Soil Health Day falling on Wednesday, March 9.
The joint resolution is sponsored by Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Champaign, and Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville.
Despite the importance of soil for human health, climate mitigation, the environment, nutrition, and the production of animal feed, fiber, and fuel, there is little public awareness of the importance of protection soils.
This joint resolution creates a week-long celebration of soil health with messaging and education to reach voices outside of the farming community and raise awareness of Illinois’ most valuable natural resource, according to the alliance.
Throughout the Soil Health Week celebration, the alliance and participating partners will bring together farmers and consumers, organizations, heads of state, lawmakers and individuals to celebrate virtually with a variety of lunch-and-learn opportunities and resources.
Each weekday, different voices from across the food and agriculture system present a range of topics focused on the power and importance of the ground beneath our feet to Illinois.
“The health of Illinois’ food, water, economy and environment is rooted in the health of Illinois soils. These soils, the best in the world, have the ability to capture carbon and reverse climate change, produce nutritious food for Illinois communities and keep waterways clean, yet every year soil is lost or degraded because its value is neglected. Everyone in Illinois is affected by the health of Illinois soils,” said Liz Rupel, lead organizer for the Illinois Stewardship Alliance.
“Only 90 years ago, American agriculture was going through the toughest times of its existence with a combination of the Great Depression and the Great Plains Dust Bowl,” added Richard Lyons, who farms in Harvel and was the one of the main voices behind the farmer. – Legislation carried out.
“Through greater knowledge, innovation, and technology, Illinois farmers have moved toward a better understanding of the soil biome. This resilience has increased our productivity, rejuvenated our soils and helped us improve the quality of our water. Why shouldn’t we celebrate?
Soil Health Week is virtual, free and open to the public. For more information on how to register, go to www.ilstewards.org/soil-health-week/.