Dealing with the fallout in Fukushima – Part 1

On March 11, 2011, Japan experienced the unprecedented Tohuku earthquake. It was the largest in Japan’s history, and created a massive tsunami that impacted Japan’s northeastern coast. A result of the earthquake and tsunami was the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. This meltdown had immediate and long-term impacts on the area. This … Continue reading Dealing with the fallout in Fukushima – Part 1

What is “soil friendly” eating?

There you are at your local grocery store. Maybe you have a shopping list and maybe you don't. Perhaps you're already hungry or are pressed for time. Maybe someone in your household has a food allergy or is on a special diet. The store may be offering promotions or featuring particular products. These are just … Continue reading What is “soil friendly” eating?

The Irish Potato Famine – could it happen again?

Ireland wasn’t always dependent on potatoes, but in the decades leading up to the famine, more farmers started growing potatoes. As a crop, potatoes are inexpensive and high-yielding. As a food, they are packed with calories and nutrients. The Irish potato famine occurred in the mid-1800s, the result of a fungal disease. Let’s look at … Continue reading The Irish Potato Famine – could it happen again?

Soils and your Thanksgiving meal

As you sit around your Thanksgiving table this year, we thought we’d give you some ideas about current research topics that help bring you your dinner. In addition to the growers who tended your food, perhaps you’ll also be thankful for the research scientists working behind the scenes to help us have a sustainable food … Continue reading Soils and your Thanksgiving meal

How do I keep soils in my raised bed healthy?

As thoughts of spring enter our minds, many people are starting to design and develop their perfect spring and summer gardens. If you are new to gardening, you should know that there is no “right” way to design a plot. There are countless options! This fact allows you to embrace your creative side and build … Continue reading How do I keep soils in my raised bed healthy?

Snow really provides my drinking water?

When snow arrives in the mountains, winter sports enthusiasts get excited. And, farmers “down country” get excited, too, but not for all the same reasons! Snow cover in Alabama Hills, CA, near the eastern slopes of the Sierras. Credit: Chris Rowe @elocrowe Winter mountain snows mean that come springtime, water supplies will be replenished for … Continue reading Snow really provides my drinking water?

The soil provides “services” to me?

These “gifts from nature” come all year, not just at Christmas! Just like water and air, soil provides “services” to all life on earth, year round. It’s a gift from the soil to humanity. Soil scientists have broken down these services into four categories, known as “soil ecosystem services.” In this blog post, we’ll explain … Continue reading The soil provides “services” to me?

What type of farming challenges did the Pilgrims face?

The Thanksgiving holiday has its roots in ancient harvest festivals. Grateful people came together to celebrate a successful harvest. Before trade networks or long-term food storage, failed crops meant hunger or even starvation, so bountiful harvests were causes of great joy. Americans usually credit the first Thanksgiving in the U.S. to the Plymouth Colony, in … Continue reading What type of farming challenges did the Pilgrims face?

Is there really radon in soil?

As we close up our homes more as chilly weather sets in around the northern US, we also lose access to much of the fresh air we’ve been enjoying all summer and fall. And with this change, comes a risk – but one that can be lessened with proper ventilation. That risk is exposure to … Continue reading Is there really radon in soil?

Beach sand: It’s really soil?

To many people, sandy beaches are the ultimate vacation spot. Whether it is the feeling of sand on our toes, sunlight on our skin, the sight of seashells littering the shores, or the sound of the crashing waves, beaches continually feed our senses. In turn, they invite us to ignore the chaos of everyday life, … Continue reading Beach sand: It’s really soil?