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Soil Health

“A nation that destroys its soil destroys Itself” - FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) 


Why CORE Foundations?

CORE Foundations provide a permeable, earth-friendly, soil-saving alternative to concrete and asphalt. Experts suggest that 75% of all land is degraded and at the current rate, we will run out of topsoil in 40-60 years. CORE Foundations help to preserve the soil while providing the same amenities as traditional paving methods, without the environmental consequences. Permeable foundations 


This means that real action must be taken to improve  and revive the remaining top soil on earth. 


Why is soil SO important:

  1. The essential foundation/matrix for all life on land

  2. The source of 95% of food produced

  3. The base of all on-land diversity

  4. The reason we have clean water sources

  5. The most biodiverse ecosystem on the planet

  6. A bigger carbon pool than the atmosphere and biosphere combined (even though our farmed soils have lost 50-70% of their carbon stock)

  7. Most scalable solution and best carbon sink (low tech, low cost) with many additional benefits

Benefits of Healthy Soil:

  1. Reduce flooding, flood damage, and associated costs

  2. Reduce wildfires

  3. Improve drought resilience and increase soil moisture (“green water” supplies) 

  4. Raise water tables and replenish aquifers 

  5. Provide human and natural communities with abundant clean water and reduce the need for irrigation, water treatment plants, bottled water, and desalination plants

  6. Reduce or eliminate toxic algae blooms

  7. Increase net profitability of farms by reducing input and irrigation costs

  8. Reduce silting of dams and reservoirs and the cost of dredging

  9. Dramatically improve air quality and reduce the incidence of asthma, COPD, and other respiratory illnesses

  10. Increase soil fertility and the nutrient density of local foods

  11. Improve the health and resilience of crops, animals, and humans

  12. Restore habitat for diverse animals and pollinators

  13. Revive the economic prospects of rural communities

  14. Sequester carbon  

Healthy soil infiltrates, absorbs, and retains water (“the soil sponge”) 

“It's not about how much rain falls, it’s how much water is absorbed and retained in the soil” - Gabe Brown, Farmer 

  • 1% increase of soil organic matter means the soil can hold 25 thousand gallons more water per acre, per year - NRCS
    • “Farmers who have increased their soil organic matter from 1% to 5% can hold 100,000 gallons more of water PER ACRE.” - Finian Makepeace, Co-Founder Kiss the Ground
    • Regenerative farmers can quickly get to zero runoff. ZERO runoff means your land absorbs 27,000 gallons of water per acre during a 1-inch rain event.  
    • Soil organic matter holds 20x its weight in water. 
      • Many small water cycles are broken. Building back healthy soil and keeping the ground covered with diversity of plants restores the small water cycles and helps rehydrate our land. 
      • Increased infiltration and water holding capacity means more water is returning to create clean fresh  water sources like springs and aquifers 

        Human health is impacted by the health of our soil. 

        Life on earth is interconnected and relies heavily on the health of soil.
        • Without the biology in the soil, plants (and the food they create), can’t access vital minerals and nutrients. 

        • “Plants don’t digest the soil, microbes do” - Dan Kittredge, Bionutrient Food Association

        • “One carrot grown in healthy soil can have as many polyphenols (micronutrients high in antioxidants) as 200 conventional carrots” - Dan Kittredge, Bionutrient Food Association. 

        • Restoring soil biology means plants are able to access minerals and nutrients that keep them healthy and strong so they can protect themselves from attacks of pests. This also means the food has more minerals and nutrients for us. 

        • “Our food is a shadow of what it once was” - Graeme Sait, Soil Expert, New Zealand

        • Healthy living soil means less harmful chemicals are needed to fight pests which means fewer pesticide residues on our food. 

        • Chemical industrial agriculture has a huge impact on the health of our air and water. The San Joaquin Valley, one of the most agriculture centered areas of CA, has the worst air quality of the U.S. 

        • Counties in the San Joaquin Valley have the highest asthma rate for children in the nation. Over 550,000 Valley residents have asthma, and of those 105,000 are children.

        “Food is the nexus of most of our world’s health, economic, environmental, climate, social and even political crises”


        Healthy soil is COOL

        “When soil is left bare, water evaporates, carbon oxidizes, and microorganisms die” - Judith Schwartz 

        The heat island effect is the elevated temperature in urban areas as compared to rural, less developed areas. As cities expand, urban development and impermeable surfaces that destroy the soil, lead to this phenomenon. 

        When soil is 70 degrees, all moisture is used for plant growth. When soil temperature climbs to 100 degrees, only 15% is available for plant growth. At 130 degrees all moisture is lost. When soil surface reaches 140 degrees the microorganisms die out.

        A few ways to reduce heat island effect:
        1. Permeable foundations, that's us! (aka stop putting concrete and asphalt down!)
        2. Green Roofs on buildings, it will add style and function.
        3. Healthy soil = cool 

        Degenerative Soil:


        Three reasons bare ground causes drought: 

        1. More Radiant Heat because there is less plant cover absorbing and using that heat energy. 
        2. More runoff and evaporation - means less water in the soil and less water supplying springs and streams year round
        3. More evaporation of soil moisture so less moisture in the soil able to feed plants so they photosynthesize longer. 


         Degenerative Water Cycles have serious consequences

        Sustainable Soil:

        Definition: To use without being completely used up or destroyed.  

        Sustainable models only work when you begin in a regenerative state, otherwise you are sustaining on a low functioning model without improving or degrading. 

        Regenerative Soil:

        Definition: Renewal or restoration of a body, bodily part, or biological system (as a forest) after injury or as a normal process. Bringing into renewed existence; generating again.

        "Regenerative implies more than just sustaining something but rather an active rebuilding or regeneration of existing systems towards full health. It also implies an open-ended process of ongoing improvement and positive transformation." - Charles Massy


        Any time a raindrop meets the earth, one of four things can happen. That droplet of water can: 

        1. Go up, as evaporation (or transpiration through plants)
        2. Go sideways, as surface runoff
        3. Go down, as deep drainage to be stored in aquifers or become a spring
        4. Be held in the soil before moving in one of the other three directions. 


        Our food production is at risk

        In the USA alone, they are losing 4 tons of topsoil per acre PER year to water and wind erosion. Source: USDA

        An article on the USDA-NRCS website estimates that the total annual cost of erosion from agriculture in the United States is about $44 billion per year. 

      •  Richard Cruse, Professor of Agronomy at Iowa State and Director of the Iowa Water Center, has calculated that for every pound of conventional corn that is harvested in Iowa, we lose more than a pound of topsoil. For every pound of conventional soy that is harvested, we lose more than 2 pounds of topsoil

      • Eroded soil ends up in rivers and oceans, clogging up dams and public waterworks and endangering nuclear power plant facilities. The dredging of silt can cost tens of millions of dollars for a single reservoir. It also ends up in the air — a major cause of our rapidly increasing incidence of respiratory illnesses.