Soils for the Future

SUMMARY

The Soils for The future is a 12 month pilot project that will demonstrate how depleted soils can be enhanced, remediated, and amended by the additions of composted food waste processed by varying technologies and processes.

BACKGROUND

Loss of quality soil to grow agricultural crops is a growing global issue. Overuse of synthetic petro-chemical derived fertilizers and pesticides are creating increasingly depleted soils, robbing food of vital nutrients, which in turn creates human health problems. Decomposed, processed food waste, has a high nutrient value, and when added to these soils has the potential to increase their productive state for a high quality crop yield, without expensive inputs, and created locally.

OBJECTIVES

  1. To address the global problem of loss of topsoil, and in particular demonstrate how local depleted soils can be restored so that they can support healthy crops using organic natural processes, without the use of synthetic fertilizers.
  2. To use various food waste processing systems located at a demonstration site in Metro Vancouver to produce an organic high quality soil amendment.
  3. To demonstrate the circular economy, where waste from local food producers can be turned into a soil that can be used to grow crops locally

PROJECT ACTIVITIES

Twenty 100 lb samples of depleted soils will be collected from farms throughout the Lower Mainland growing a variety of crops. Baseline soil quality will be established though lab analysis. These samples will be mixed in varying proportions with four types of composted food waste using a combination of innovative processes in 50 plots. Over 12 months, the samples will be observed, mixed, and finally analyzed to measure their transformation.

This is a pilot project, which will demonstrate how local soils can be enhanced. 100 farmers will be initially contacted. Presentations will be made to reach hundreds more across Canada, where the technology will be explained, so can be replicable elsewhere. The findings can be applicable to any depleted soils, where there is access to food waste. As soil depletion is a global issue, the potential effect can be huge.

A process will be tested and developed that will enhance depleted soils, using an organic, non-chemical input. This will be recorded and be the basis of a “how-to” manual for other jurisdictions. Three sets of laboratory analyses will be made of each of the soils before and after remediation. At the successful conclusion of the project, the various soil amendment products will be commercially marketed. The research results will be made available to other researchers.

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