A framework of connections between soil and people can help improve sustainability of the food system and soil functions

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Globally soil quality and food security continue to decrease indicating that agriculture and the food system need to adapt. Improving connection to the soil by knowledge exchange can help achieve this. We propose a framework of three types of connections that allow the targeting of appropriate messages to different groups of people. Direct connection by, for example, handling soil develops soil awareness for management that can be fostered by farmers joining groups on soil-focused farming such as organic farming or no-till. Indirect connections between soil, food and ecosystem services can inform food choices and environmental awareness in the public and can be promoted by, for example, gardening, education and art. Temporal connection revealed from past usage of soil helps to bring awareness to policy workers of the need for the long-term preservation of soil quality for environmental conservation. The understanding of indirect and temporal connections can be helped by comparing them with the operations of the networks of soil organisms and porosity that sustain soil fertility and soil functions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269 - 283
Number of pages15
JournalAMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment
Issue number3
Early online date24 Nov 2017
Publication statusFirst published - 24 Nov 2017


Bibliographical note



  • Agroecology
  • Diversity
  • Integration
  • Soil quality

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