'More than just dirt': University of Guelph researchers seek ways to protect soil on Canadian farms | Globalnews.ca

A recent Canadian Senate report shows that soils across Canada are becoming less and less Project Focus On the future of food production.

However, University of Guelph Hopefully the situation improves.

Kari Dunfield Guelph Soil Projectwhich aims to find ways to protect the health of Canada’s soils and share that information with farmers, industry and the public.

“I think we're really lucky as Canadians to have so many natural resources, so much diversity and, of course, soils across Canada,” Dunfield said.

Dunfield, along with Laura Van Eerd and Claudia Wagner-Riddle, started the project in 2019 and conducted soil health research across the province.

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She believes that a team approach is effective through building connections and collaboration.

“I think we need to start at that level so that everyone understands the importance of soil, not just dirt,” she said.

She said the team also hopes to collaborate with other provinces.

They need to have a set of ideas ready to discuss with people and know that they might work, Dunfield said. After that, it's up to the individual to decide which strategies are right for them.

Since launching the project five years ago, Dunfield has learned that many people are interested in protecting soils. She said it's important to get more people involved.

“We started this several years ago,” she said. “We went from one person’s idea to now having a network of hundreds of people.”

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She said there is no one-size-fits-all approach and that their team, in addition to working with soil owners or farmers, tries to connect with those who are interested in protecting soil to come up with practical solutions.

She said soil is not renewable and is in crisis due to erosion, pollution or loss to development. Dunfield said soil is important not only for growing food but also for the economy.

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“It’s an incredibly important resource for our country and I think we need to remember that it’s there and it does a lot for us,” she said.

As the team enters the fifth year of its research, Dunfield believes they are just getting started.

“There’s still so much work to do to protect Canada’s soils, and we feel like we’re just getting started,” she said.

“We’re going to be working with different communities across Canada to try to scale our approach across the country.”

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