photo of client yard

NPR Illustration by Benjamin Arthur

There is an interesting series at NPR on microbes in our bodies and how they affect people health (http://www.npr.org/series/218987212/microbiome). A quick except I found fascinating: “There are 10 times more cells from microorganisms like bacteria and fungi in and on our bodies than there are human cells.┬áScientists increasingly think that these microorganisms have a huge influence on our health. Without them, our bodies don’t seem to do as well. We don’t seem to be as healthy and might actually get sick more often.”

What we understand about our landscapes is that microorganisms also play a critical role in plant health by freeing up nutrients and keeping diseases in check. It appears that the same architecture is at play in our bodies as it is in all of Nature! For us to somehow think that our physical selves are separate and not influenced by what we do to Nature is one of our great fallacies.

Think about it… Our bodies are 70% water and that water molecule is identical to the water molecule in all our oceans, lakes and streams. We can’t live without water and common wisdom says that we would be devoid of life on Earth without water. H2O is H2O no matter where it resides and we depend on it as much as Nature does.

Or what about nitrogen, the element that we so readily throw on our plants to make them grow? Turns out that 78% of the air we breathe is nitrogen… We couldn’t live without that either. Yes, the same things that are being utilized by all living creatures and plants are the same things that our physical body depends on too.

I often equate what we, at Earthdance Organics, are doing in the landscape to what happens in our kitchens. Our use of granular organic fertilizers, micronutrients and top dressings (i.e. compost) are to build up the balanced food reserves for the microbes in the soils. Our additional use of FertileTea (our version of a compost tea) is to help build healthy profiles of microbes to break down the organic matter and free it up for plant use.

Turns out that this is very similar to what we do at home… We fill up our refrigerator with “balanced” foods (fruits, vegetables, proteins, etc.) and when we consume the food we rely on the microbes in our gut to break down the food and free it up for our body to absorb it. ┬áRecent people health has been focused around “probiotics” which is another way to add the microbes to our gut flora. For decades we have eaten yogurt (the original probiotic) and for eons we have brewed and baked with yeast, another microbe. The quality of the food going in and the health of our gut flora is what keeps us healthy.

Huh… Same as in the landscape! The quality of the food sources we apply (“fertilizers”) and the quality of the microbes is what determines sustainable plant health.

My point is, we can’t separate people health from planet health because we are essentially the same system. And this is why at Earthdance Organics we are dedicated to replicating and restoring Nature’s naturally occurring systems because we believe this is the only way to get the planet, and people!, healthy.