Dishing the Dirt in Venice
Updated: Sep 12, 2020
We need a huge shift in focus from overdevelopment to land preservation in Venice, and beyond. A new way to be land stewards and work in harmony with nature, not against it. This starts with educating our community and developers alike. It’s one of the reasons I’m interested in representing you on Venice City Council.
Most of us don’t give soil much thought. But healthy soil is an unsung, hard-working hero protecting our environment. Healthy soil contains organic matter that absorbs and retains water instead of letting it run off, when it takes with it excess nutrients and toxins. This means more water returns to the ground to create clean freshwater sources and aquifers. As Venice and the surrounding areas continue to grow, ensuring healthy aquifers and clean drinking water becomes more challenging.
Healthy soil = healthy environment
Healthy soil is essential to all life on land. Today, overdevelopment and bad agricultural practices have led to unsustainable levels of soil degradation. Florida's economy and quality of life depend on a clean and healthy environment. Building healthy soil is one of the best ways to clean up our waters, and fights climate change.
Overdevelopment = overburdened soil
Topsoil is the first 5-10 inches of the ground beneath our feet. This topsoil, when healthy, has the highest concentration of organic matter and microorganisms. A single teaspoon of healthy topsoil has more life in it than humans on this planet.
Overdevelopment contributes to the world losing 4 tons of topsoil per acre every year: washed away in heavy rains when left exposed. The new fill hauled in to bring the elevations up to the proper heights for construction is what I call “dead dirt.” Better development practices can help minimize this damage.
Healthy soil = healthy people
Human health is also impacted by the health of our soil. When we restore soil biology by adding organic matter, the plants are able to access minerals and nutrients that keep them healthy and strong so they in turn can protect themselves from pests and disease. By being able to protect themselves naturally, harmful chemicals are not needed.
What can be done?
Composting can bring organic matter back to our soils. It not only keeps 30-40 percent of our food scraps from going to our local landfills, but it also minimizes the amount of methane gas emissions released into our atmosphere.
Compost also provides added stormwater management value by capturing pollution and retaining up to 30% more water than our conventional sandy topsoil.
Community initiatives keep both the composting process and it's products local, while engaging the community through participation and education.
As your Venice City Council member, I will promote healthy soils, community gardening and composting initiatives. Building community is an important part of the health and well-being of everyone