Year of soil offers chance for growth

This week, Zero Waste Mann’s Sarah Calverley looks at one of the fundamental building blocks of good food – the soil it’s grown in


I remember, in the 1980s, my friend Alice telling me about Le Puy lentils.

They have to be Le Puy and not ‘Le Puy-type’ lentils, she emphasised.

The point is this: Le Puy is an area in France which, due to past volcanic activity, has particularly fertile soils, rich in minerals so that the crops grown there are extremely nutritious.

So, although they cost more than their impersonators, ‘it’s definitely worth buying the real thing,’ said Alice.

Gardeners have always appreciated the effect soil has on crops, realising that plants are affected by it at least as much as they are by sunlight and water.

Now, in 2015 – some 20 years after I first used and learned to love Le Puy lentils – the benefits of different soil types on crops are going to be celebrated worldwide with the International Year of Soil, together with clear messages about why we should learn to love the good earth.

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