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Editor's View: Why the Soil Association's Call to Action is a Cry for Earth's Ancient Wisdom

The Soil Association's ambitious proposal to double the UK's production of fruits and vegetables produced in the UK is a clear call for a radical overhaul of our agricultural practices.

Central to this green revolution could be the unassuming yet powerful substance known as humic acid—a natural soil booster whose potential to revitalise our farming practices is immense.

Humic acid, sourced from the rich deposits of ancient organic matter in the earth, is not a novel discovery. Yet, its pivotal role in sustainable agriculture has never been more relevant. As the UK faces the urgent task of bolstering its horticultural output amidst environmental concerns, humic acid based soil boosters have emerged as a beacon of hope, perfectly in step with the Soil Association's vision.

The virtues of humic acid are extensive. It enhances soil structure, which in turn bolsters water retention and aeration, diminishing the need for excessive irrigation and mitigating erosion risks. It acts as a chelating agent, ensuring nutrients in the soil are more accessible to plant roots. This could curtail the dependence on artificial fertilisers, which are not only expensive but also contribute to environmental harm through leaching into and polluting our waterways.

Additionally, humic acid encourages the proliferation of beneficial soil microorganisms. These tiny but mighty entities are crucial in decomposing organic matter, fixing atmospheric nitrogen, and shielding plants from diseases. By boosting the biological fertility of the soil, humic acid underpins the principles of agroecology—a cornerstone of the Soil Association's approach to nature-friendly farming.

The Soil Association's rallying cry is not just about augmenting output but also about improving the calibre of the produce and the vitality of the ecosystem. Humic acid's capacity to nurture healthy, robust plants means that yields can be increased and the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables can be elevated. This is particularly significant at a time when the UK is confronting issues related to diet and health.

Moreover, humic acid contributes to agricultural resilience. The looming threat of climate change, with its erratic weather patterns and extreme events, poses a significant risk to farming. The soil-enhancing attributes of humic acid can help create a buffer against these challenges, enabling plants to better endure drought and other stressors.

The Soil Association's manifesto for doubling fruit and vegetable production through agroecological methods is bold. It necessitates a shift in perspective regarding our treatment of soil.

As the UK government deliberates on the Soil Association's recommendations, the role of natural soil amendments like humic acid must be acknowledged. Investments in research, farmer education, and support for transitioning to these practices are crucial. It is time for policymakers, farmers, and the public to recognise the potential of soil boosters and how they can enable us to achieve our production objectives in a manner that sustains both people and the environment.

Ultimately, the Soil Association's vision is a call to action for a more verdant future. Humic acid, as a soil booster, stands as a natural ally in this endeavour, promising a future where increased yields do not come at the expense of our environment.

It is a vision that beckons us to draw upon the ancient wisdom of the earth to find solutions for the forthcoming challenges—a vision where the wellbeing of our soil is intrinsically linked to the wellbeing of our nation.

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