Organic Friends' E‑zine: January 2015

The United Nations has designated 2015 as the International Year of Soils!  Please see our Director’s Message below for more information, and take a moment to reflect on the importance of our soils.

In this issue:

OACC Director's Message

The International Year of Soils

I am very excited that 2015 is the International Year of Soils as designated by the United Nations. Many soil science societies around the world are promoting recognition of the importance of soil and policy making that will support its conservation.

Healthy soil is the foundation of viable and sustainable farming operations in organic agriculture. We spend most of our time thinking about how to manage soil properties to optimize the yield and quality of our products. The soil serves a much greater role than just a growing medium for our crops. Soil provides habitat for plants, animals and microorganisms, it is a filter for removing toxins, it holds nutrients that otherwise would be lost, it holds water and buffers extreme rainfall events, and it holds carbon which buffers climate change. The soil can be incredibly variable across the landscape and in different regions of the country, being influenced by the nature of the mineral materials left by glaciation, the shape of the land, climate, and of course the influences of biology, particularly vegetation.

As Les Molloy stated “... only rarely have we stood back and celebrated our soils as something beautiful, and perhaps even mysterious. For what other natural body, worldwide in its distribution, has so many interesting secrets to reveal to the patient observer?” Let us take this year as an opportunity to celebrate soil as an entity of itself, as well as the foundation of our organic food system.

A Rainbow of Soil
A rainbow of soil is under our feet;
Red as a barn and black as a peat.
It’s yellow as lemon and white as the snow;
Bluish gray. So many colors below.
Hidden in darkness as thick as the night;
The only rainbow that can form without light.
Dig you a pit, or bore you a hole,
You’ll find enough colors to well rest your soul.
F.D. Hole, 1985

Andy Hammermeister, Ph.D., P.Ag.
Director, OACC

Assistant Professor, Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture

Organic Science Cluster II

Practical Resources


Pest Management

Ecology and Environment

Special Information on Food Waste

Scientific Results

Ecology and Environment

Post-harvest Handling, Storage and Processing


Student, Job and Apprentice Opportunities


Event Location Date
34th Annual Guelph Organic Conference & Expo
Guelph, ON
January 29 - February 1, 2015
Organic Master Gardener Course Toronto, ON
January 27 - April 28, 2015
Organic Master Gardener Course
Ottawa, ON February 14-15
March 14-15
April 11-12
Organic Agriculture Research Symposium Lacrosse, WI
February 25-26, 2015
Organic Alberta 2015 Conference Sherwood Park, AB
February 27 - March 1, 2015
Le premier colloque bio pour tous!
(Simultaneous translation)
Submit your poster summary by January 30, 2014
Victoriaville, QC
March 5-7, 2015
Organic Farming and Soil Management at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2015
Vienna, Austria April 12-17, 2015



Organic Friends' E-Zine January 2015, Volume 11, Issue 3
Copyright © 2014 Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada (OACC)
PO Box 550, Truro, NS B2N 5E3,
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