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State of the Soil

Real Billions and Real Trillions

While I was searching for images of life in the soil, I came upon the following on Sweet Bay Farm’s website (see above). They’re working to restore soils depleted by decades of monoculture—the continual cultivation of a single crop, in this case tobacco—so this picture of several earthworm tunnels in a clod does not yet suggest anything teeming.

A Conversation With Jeff Moyer

Jeff, before we begin, I want to thank you for the images of the jars of water, one with soil rich in organic matter and one with the dissolved murkiness of soil that is deficient in carbon. Ever since you showed those images during a public talk a decade or so ago, the comparison has stuck with me.

Colorado Soil Systems Receives 0% Loan

In 2016, Colorado Soil Systems received a $15,000 zero-percent loan from the 2Forks Club. This loan allowed us to establish a fruit-tree rootstock nursery to preserve indigenous trees that grow in the valley; purchase irrigation supplies, fencing, and soil amendments; and embark on a vegetable- and flower- production operation.

Reader Interactions


  1. Mark Maraia says

    Woody, very nicely stated. Imagine the state of our republic today if once a year our president were constitutionally required to report on the state of our soil, water, food and air? Our national wealth AND health are tied to the soil. Today, most soil is depleted by factory farms and we have widespread chronic disease or worse. Our small organic and bio dynamic farmers are the only ones focused on soil restoration. Based on my research and study of the problems you cogently laid out in State of the Soil, I’ve started to think of our small organic farmers as heroic health care workers. Any governor who cares about citizen health will actively recruit 10,000 small organic farms to his state so we can begin the important task of soil restoration.


    • Diana Dyer, MS, RD says

      Thank you for such an insightful article. I will need to read it several times to fully digest and integrate all of the connections discussed.

      Per your comment “I’ve started to think of our small organic farmers as heroic health care workers”, I agree. As a Registered Dietitian (RD) since 1978 and a certified organic farmer since 2009, I KNOW that small, organic farmers (who sell their food to their local communities) are THE true front-line health care providers within these local communities. I know too well that what we call health care in this country is really disease care, and I also know too well how poorly the various treatments for food-related chronic disease work much of the time. The horse (disease) is already out of the barn and galloping down the road, and it’s an expensive, resource-intensive effort to actually bring that horse back into the barn, restored back to full health and wellness.

      I inwardly cringe whenever I hear someone use the phrase “just a farmer”. I also cringe when someone asks me if I am now retired from being an RD since I am currently working full-time as a farmer. I even had another health care professional wave her hand (dismissively) over our farmers’ market table and ask (while rolling her eyes) “Are you still working as a dietitian or are you JUST doing this?”

      “Just doing this”……..just nourishing the health of my community, from our soil to our planet, 365 days of the year. Everything I have done over my professional career as an RD has been meaningful, but nothing I have done as an RD has been as meaningful as educating about health by feeding food to my community that has been grown by me and my husband in the healthiest soil and ecosystem possible.

      We are one small farm, doing our part (and hopefully our best) to connect the dots between between food, money, health, soil, and culture. The “State of the Soil” at the The Dyer Family Organic Farm in Ann Arbor, Michigan is alive and well with the most common comment heard from dietetic interns and other volunteers while helping us harvest our garlic being “I have never seen so many earthworms!”.

  2. Kathi Squires says

    Thank you Woody. One of the most satisfying & favorite jobs I’ve ever had was working as a farmer years ago at the Morse Farm outside of Montpelier, VT. Early mornings, the smell of the soil, my hands warmed by the sun… the feel of the rich soil on my fingers… I was fortunate to work with Harry & Dot and Burr & Betsy. I loved working the Farmers Market on Landon Street in downtown Montpelier. I think my Dad used to tell me, “where there’s earthworms, there’s good soil.” He said toads were always a good sign too. Woody, there’s heart & truth in your words.

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