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The International Year of Soil is No Dirty Joke

This year, ask not what dirt can do for you, but what you can do for dirt.

Photo by normanack via Wikimedia commons

Outside of farming and gardening circles, soil gets very little love. People don’t really seem to want it in the house or on their shoes; you very rarely hear someone say, “Man, I could really go for a good bucket of soil right now.” Often, you’ll see someone stop and comment on the beauty of a majestic oak or beautiful flower without even registering the earthy, hardworking mass of minerals, decomposing matter, and tiny organisms that made it all possible. But soil (or “dirt,” as it’s known in less couth contingents), is essential to about 95 percent of the world’s food supply—for humans it’s a pretty necessary part of not being dead. That’s why the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), along with a host of local groups and other governing bodies, has declared 2015 the official International Year of Soil.

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How Young Scientists Are Determining the Future of Organic Farming—And Craft Beer

One of the country's first organic plant breeding fellowships is funding a Washington State University graduate student studying barley for beer.

Washington State University graduate student Brook Brouwer

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