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Perspective: From soil to dirt to tragedy


On the last day of April I was driving through Indiana on I-65 and ran into a wild mix of weather - heavy rain, hail, and fierce wind. Visibility dissolved for long minutes, and pulling off on the side or at an exit would have been nearly impossible and probably even more dangerous. The next day on I-55, motorists faced a situation much more dire.

The dust storm that took the lives of at least 8 people and caused multiple injuries was brought on yes, by high winds and dry conditions, but the root of this tragedy, the dust, was exposed soil. Decades of industrial farming practices have undermined the very foundation of our crops, turning soil into dirt.

My good friend, a soil steward of several acres, inspired me to delve into this issue and recommended the book, Dirt to Soil by Gabe Brown. The author is a farmer and describes his “family’s journey into regenerative agriculture.”

Soil erodes and degrades from overtilling, lack of cover crops, and monocropping - planting the same crop year after year. Our short sighted focus on mass production has wreaked havoc on this precious resource and clearly has a direct impact on our lives.

I’m Paula Garrett and that’s my perspective.

Paula Garrett is a transplanted Southerner and a former WNIJ Blues host. She's passionate about music, travel, research, open water swimming and film.
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