We owe our lives to soils and the microbes that inhabit them in more ways than one. We are literally, standing on a treasure trove of human health and wellbeing.
Humans have evolved hand in hand with microbes; in fact our bodies contain 10 times more microbial cells than human cells, which poses the question: if you are more microbial than human; is it really you wanting that piece of cake or coffee fix, or is it your microbial passengers?
Exposing yourself to beneficial microbes is essential for your wellbeing, these microbes are all around us, on family members, our pets, in the wind and in soil. Researchers have found that children raised on biologically managed farms have far lower incidences of allergy and asthma compared to those raised on conventional, industrialised farms or in the suburbs. Researchers refer to this as “the farm effect.” Mycobacterium vaccae, a common soil bacteria has been found to lift serotonin levels, reducing anxiety, fighting cancer, and stimulating brain growth.
In recent years, there have been huge leaps forward in the scientific understanding of microbes and human health, and the same leaps are following in our view of the soil. Without microbes humans cannot thrive, and the same is true for plants.
It often blows me away how systems follow patterns and rules that repeat from the micro to the macro scale.
Consider the human digestion process; first we chew our food to make it smaller before it passes further down the gastro-intestinal system. Then enzymes (mostly produced by microbes), process our food into valuable minerals and vitamins, making them small enough to pass into our bloodstream.
Then consider, these same digestive processes occur in the root zone; with worms, insects and micro invertebrates shredding and chewing food to make it available to the micro-organisms, which in turn pass the nutrients through to the plant roots using acids and enzymes. Without adequate biological support we take out this invaluable microbial bridge, leaving plants vulnerable to pest and disease pressures; and most importantly without this link the food that is produced is of much poorer quality.
A powerful argument to take more soil assessments to create a healthier, smarter you!