A PASSION PROJECT

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hu·mus .  ˈ(h)yo͞oməs/

noun

Definition:   the organic component of soil, formed by the decomposition of leaves and other plant material by soil microorganisms.

 

I Heart Humus is a passion project of ours. Its purpose is to bring awareness to the importance of this amazing brown stuff. We believe by encouraging others to build healthy soils, we can help grow more nutritious food; keep our precious water cleaner; keep our trees, canopies and habitats healthier for all animals and organisms; and have a major role in the slowing of climate change.

 

You gotta love it !

 

 

On a municipal level in Vancouver, we are pouring energy and resources into encouraging more locally grown food, finding solutions to become more water wise, planting trees to encourage canopy and pollinator heath and making moves towards the reduction of excess carbon to mitigate climate change.

 

What if...

....there was something with strong connections to all of these solutions we are exploring. Something that could have an lasting impact on water, ecosystem, plant, animal and climate health.

 

We propose that there is.   Humus.

 Read more below on how soil health can make a difference.

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Water

Humus creates cleaner water through surface filtration and diversion to aquifers deeper in the soil rather than allowing excess contaminated water to run off into our rivers and lakes. 1% increase in humus means that the soil can hold 170 000 litres if water / hectare it could not previously hold. 


Nutrients

Humus improves the nutritional content of food. For every mineral that is transferred through fruits and veggies we eat there is an important microbe that is responsible for passing that mineral through the soil. Humus is home for these microbes to live and prosper.  Just like our bodies need microbial life to improve health, No organic humus layer, then no microbes to put nutrients in our foods. Humus has a negative charge which means that many of the nutrients plants require stick to humus, including ammonium (source of nitrogen), calcium, magnesium and phosphorous to name a few. The Humus holds onto these nutrients and prevents rain from washing them away. 


Carbon 

There is a finite amount of carbon. It cycles between the atmosphere the biomass and the soil.  Humus is composed of mostly carbon and some nitrogen. The unusual part is that humus is very stable. In fact it takes 100 years or more for it to decompose. Without Humus in the soil,  more carbon ends up in our oceans and atmosphere.  


Plants

Humus is home to beneficial microbes and fungi. Micorryzhial fungi is now understood to not only be a key component to feeding the biomass, but also in connecting it in a network, so that when one tree is struggling it can be supported by others. By eliminating run off of water Humus can divert water deep down into the soils and hold it there ready for use by the tree. Humus is also reduces compaction to soils.



We believe increased education and initiatives on soil building and soil health could have an impact on climate change. 


People Making Change

Humans inspired by Humus

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Sallie Calhoun is passionate about soil and its abilities to sequester carbon to mitigate climate change.

To learn more about Sallie, check out these links:

HEALTHY, “CLIMATE-BENEFICIAL” SOIL IS THE NEXT SUPPLY CHAIN FRONTIER Article by Risa Blumle published by Conscious Company Media

https://consciouscompanymedia.com/the-new-economy/food-agriculture/healthy-climate-beneficial-soil-is-the-next-supply-chain-frontier/

Sallie Calhoun Bio published by Tides Canada

http://tidescanada.org/sallie-calhoun/

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Graeme Sait is a lifelong human and soil health educator. He believes that we urgently need to return that carbon to the soil, and start replenishing the humus in order to reverse the impact.

To learn more about Graeme, check out these links:

Graeme Sait TEDx Talks Published on May 12, 2013

https://youtu.be/8Q1VnwcpW7E

How humus can save the world By Lloyd Phillips June 29, 2015 12:12 pm

https://www.farmersweekly.co.za/conservation-agriculture/how-humus-can-save-the-world/

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CityFarmer is a Vancouver based non-profit focusing on urban composting education and soil building benefits.

To read more about CityFarmer, check out these links:

Vancouver a composting all-star, says U.S.-based group Denise Ryan Updated: May 29, 2018

http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/vancouver-a-composting-all-star-says-u-s-based-group

CityFarmer website

http://www.cityfarmer.info/