International Soil Conservation Day is celebrated on July 7.
It is a date to highlight the benefits of proper operations and care on the ground for all. A commitment to the integrity of resources is essential to ensure their good condition and contribution to environmental balance in the future.
At Cortijo el Puerto we know that the soil is the foundation and that is why we have taken a step further in ecology and biodynamic (Demeter), reaffirming our project for the recovery of biodiversity and environmental regeneration. This Post is about it.
International Soil Conservation Day
A few months ago we recalled the importance of soil in its day. The pressing need for environmental regeneration and the awareness of all to collaborate in it is becoming more and more evident.
That is why we have found it so important to join in spreading the word about this awareness day.
Celebrated since July 7, 1963, International Soil Conservation Day coincides with the death, three years earlier, of the American scientist Hugh Hammond Bennett. He was a pioneer in the field of soil conservation in the United States of America and head of the Soil Conservation Service. He managed to change the mindset of farmers toward soil conservation, promoting soil conservation through the use of new techniques and forms of cultivation, which protected the soils and preserved their fertility.
Hammond dedicated his entire life to demonstrating that caring for the soil is inextricably linked to its productive capacity. Thus, their work, their example and their achievements are remembered and encouraged to continue conserving and protecting soils.
The objective that Hammond pursued and that is the main purpose of this day, is to make people aware of the fundamental importance of the earth within the fragile environmental balance.
Ecology and Biodiversity
Soils are reservoirs of biodiversity. More than 40 percent of living organisms in terrestrial ecosystems are associated with soils during their life cycle. A natural ecosystem integrates fauna and flora and is balanced by their interactions. At Cortijo el Puerto, we integrate agriculture and livestock, we advocate for local and endangered species, promoting biodiversity and environmental regeneration. Regeneration based on the richness of the soil, regenerating its tissues and creating fertility in the land.
“We produce organic by supporting biodiversity and integrate all the elements that exist in nature within the farm, we cultivate awareness”
With this quote framed in a mosaic of Cortijo el Puerto Farm’s Ecosystem we start this post, inviting you to know about the real meaning of biodynamic agriculture for us.
Certainly, we work with a model capable of solving major challenges that the agricultural sector is already facing: less rain, soils that are more degraded by abuse and neglect, and a demand for food of higher quality every day as well as sustainable in the long term.
Since our inception, we were aware that our role with nature must be proactive, we have opted for truly organic agriculture and reordering the soil, which has been badly treated. As FAO highlights
Soil organisms play a crucial role in boosting food production, improving nutritious diets, preserving human health, rehabilitating contaminated sites, and fighting climate change.
Environmental education plays a fundamental role in this, that is why the organization also highlights “The need to promote innovative technologies in soil management: It is extremely important to strengthen education and the development of capacities in the adoption of innovative tools to contribute to human, plant and soil health”.
At Cortijo el Puerto we understand the farm as an ecosystem where we can create optimal conditions in the soil and the farm, interrelating the different agents and enriching and balancing them.The work of the soil has different tasks, the earth is “hungry” as long as no plant grows in it … that is why crop rotation is so important, we also use green manures as a natural tool, local varieties, adapted to each ecosystem, and we reduce tillage to respect the habitat of microorganisms.
Biodynamic agriculture means a philosophy of life, understanding the soils and the interactions of the ecosystem, producing food in a healthier way and with higher quality. The quality of the land, the organic compost, the irrigation, the way to control pests, the conservation, the time and way of harvesting… are determining factors for the organoleptic characteristics, composition and quality of food.
Challenges and lessons for a living soil
The increase in the salinity of the soils, caused by an excessive use of chemical fertilisers, is a problem that Cortijo el Puerto wanted to avoid from the beginning, linking ourselves to the organic agriculture movement, practicing respectful tillage with the soil and with techniques that counteract the negative aftermath on this.
Promoting the balance of beneficial soil organisms is key to its conservation. The soil constitutes an ecosystem that includes from microorganisms, bacteria and viruses, to macroscopic species, such as the earthworm, which aerates, drains and promotes macronutrients.
In Cortijo el Puerto, in order to obtain the best results for our flora, we have analyzed the whole surface of the land to be cultivated, studied the essence of the soil, planted wood crops using GPS, and sought the most favorable plant associations for the vegetation cover.
Vegetation cover fulfills four objectives:
First, it covers 100% of the surface of the farm, nourishing the soil
Second, staggered flowering: we have chosen flowers that bloom throughout the year, in order to help the farm’s fauna
Third, it promotes biodiversity
Fourth, it attracts outside wildlife and avoid contamination of neighbouring farms.
In addition, the rows of olive and almond trees and the entire surface of the farm are protected with a vegetation cover grown from carefully selected native seeds. The result is an environmental restoration project that uses herbaceous crops to protect the soil and create food and shelter for the auxiliary fauna. For each coverage area, we select the best organic species from the Iberian Peninsula (mainly grasses, cruciferous vegetables and legumes) combined with rows of flowers in the center.
We create seed mixtures especially for each area, according to soil characteristics and location, type of crop, optimal timing and any particular agricultural problems.
Among the objectives of the vegetation cover are to revitalize the potential contribution of useful flora in agriculture. Also to create the most beneficial environment for each of our crops, and to get them to become self-fertilizing in future years. In short, we seek to restore the natural biodiversity for our agricultural crops, to recover the dream ecosystem.
With the association of species we manage to protect the soil and generate biodiversity to retain the auxiliary fauna. We combine host plants for biological control, with other species of food source for insects beneficial to agriculture. The planting of green roofs and the mulching of straw, complement the integrated management of irrigation and the saving of water because they avoid evaporation due to the effect of the sun.This is our project. It combines sustainability and innovation. A green economy that can be seen, smelled and tasted in our Organic and Biodynamic EVOO
This model implies a notable expansion of recycling, circular economy and much more self-sufficiency and, above all, plant and animal health.
And that is a guarantee of quality.
Therefore, at the farm, we work every day for this and we reaffirm with these actions our environmental and quality commitment. So the best products reach your tables and we all actively collaborate creating a balanced and rich ecosystem. Only by being aware of our land and soil can there be a future for future generations. We join the celebration of International Soil Conservation Day and invite you to become aware of its importance and significance.