Soil is the foundation of every living landscape. It is a complex combination of minerals, air, water and nutrients and is teeming with a diversity of life that we have only recently begun to comprehend the complexity of. How all those pieces of life interact is still a mystery. We do know a bit about how to support a diversity of life in the soil we interact with and when that life is diverse the plant and soil life can take things from there. When soil is healthy it sequesters carbon, holds rain water, resists erosion and provides plants with the physical resources they need to thrive.

Regenerative Soil Management:

Keeps soil covered to protect from compaction, erosion and nutrient and loss through leaching, oxidization and nitrification.

Minimizes disturbance of the soil profile (no till)

Relies on a diversity of plant life to support and feed a diversity of soil life

Provides sufficient water to keep life healthy

Doesn’t remove organic matter from the site, beyond intended harvesting, allowing it to compost on-site and contribute to soil carbon increase

Degenerative soil management:

Extracts organic matter from intact ecosystems such as forests and bogs, or from agricultural lands.

Disturbs the soil by tilling or turning.

Compacts the soil by providing insufficient cover by plants or plant material or by excessive foot or vehicle traffic.

Allows for erosion, nutrient leaching and nutrient loss through insufficient plant cover and root density and diversity.

Livelihoods and Services in Regenerative Soil and Land Care

  • Food waste diversion, collection and composting

  • Soil rehabilitation – subsoiling and biology introduction (compost, EM, Mycorrhizae)

  • Soil inoculant production (healthy garden, meadow and forest soils)

  • Insect identification and lifecycle monitoring

  • Soil testing and remediation for home gardens

  • Ecosystem design and monitoring (including small, urban ecosystems)

Information and online resources

Articles and General Information:

Native land map – treaties, language groups and territories

Soil carbon sequestration in urban yards (NY Times article) 
The related research is published here

Soil carbon loss after clear cutting

Healthy Soil is the key to feeding the world

The biology beneath our feet

A good introductory article on soil biology in the Washington Post

Farmers saving the planets soil

An Introduction to Regenerative Agriculture

There is a Forgotten Solution to Climate Change That We Must Invest In – Nature 

Disturbed by Disturbance. A thoughtful article on finding common ground in caring for the soil

Various Aspects of Soil Life and Function:

Nitrogen in the soil

Leaving microbes out of climate change conversation has major consequences, experts warn

Changing agricultural practices to restore soil carbon and biology

Bioreactor composting

An interactive tool exploring soil health factors

Technical Information and Resources:

Canadian Soil maps and land inventory

Contour mapping tool

A breakdown of the ecological footprint of a farm using regenerative practices

The impact of soil compaction on crop yields

A soil calculator and native tree species guide developed to help improve tree planting success in Ontario and Alberta

A video on relieving deep soil compaction prior to tree planting (this was identified as the most significant factor in success or failure of tree planting along highways)

One minute video on soil 

Soil presentation and Nobel conference (45 minute video)

Technical document on soil aggregation

Soil restoration information and tools

Soil Safety Resource Guide for Urban Food Growers

Research Papers: 

Research paper on restoring hydrological function of soil through subsoiling

Urban subsoiling -Full document can be requested here

Research paper on Compacted Urban Soils and their Remediation

Research paper on Amending Soils for Enhanced Infiltration of Storm water 

Research paper Effect of urban soil compaction on infiltration rate

Research paper Influence of urban land development and subsequent soil rehabilitation on soil aggregates, carbon, and hydraulic conductivity

Regenerative Soil and Land care
Groups and Organizations

Regeneration Canada is working toward systemic change in land management and soil regeneration in Canada 

Canadian Organic Growers an organic farmer and consumer association offering training and resources to raise awareness about organics and assist farmers and gardeners in adopting sustainable and commercially viable, organic production methods.

Gaia College offers online and classroom education on organic land care and related skills. 

Sustainable Landscaping Initiative Vancouver is a non-profit organization created by landscapers, which strives to improve industry sustainability.

Sustain Ontario support for productive, equitable and sustainable food and farming systems that support the health and wellbeing of all people in Ontario, through collaborative action.

Certified Organic Associations of B.C. (COABC) The British Columbia Organic sector strives to ensure high quality products in sufficient quantity produced under safe working conditions. Organic farmers work to nurture living, healthy soil, biological diversity, ecological harmony using sustainable practices and renewable resources including healthy animals and natural livestock socialization. 

The Ontario Soil Network is a farmer-led extension in Ontario with the goal of increasing the adoption of soil-building Best Management Practices such as cover crops, minimum-tillage and soil amendments. Based on peer-to-peer knowledge exchange, and framed as a leadership challenge, OSN will connect and support 40 'early adopters' in their collective outreach and peer-engagement efforts.

The Erin Soil Health Coalition is a citizen science project, monitoring soil carbon levels and water infiltration rates at local farms over time at different sites on each farm. Connecting farmers with each other to promote health soil practices.

City Farmer is a collection of stories about our work at City Farmer in Vancouver, Canada, and about urban farmers from around the world. 

NOFA Organic Land Care Program US based organic land care training, certification and information.

Ecological Landscape Alliance "Advocating for responsible stewardship of land and natural resources in landscaping and horticultural practices." Based in the north eastern United States but with an extensive catalog of articles and online and recorded seminars available to members.

"4 per 1000" Initiative International group working toward atmospheric carbon reduction through soil management as part of the solution to climate failure.

Project Drawdown provides information and data on the tools available to us for reversing global heating and ecosystem collapse.

Kiss the Ground provides resources and training for advocates of the regenerative soil movement 

Canadian Society for Organic Urban Land Care (SOUL)
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