CORTLAND - Local environmental experts shared ways to help make the local soil healthier to have healthier locally grown food.
Earth Angel Farm and Trumbull Soil and Water Conservation District co-hosted a healthy soil education conference recently on ways to compost and improve the local soil.
Dr. Holly Maggiano of Earth Angel Farm said different groups including Grow Youngstown, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, Trumbull Master Gardeners, and local farmers and horticultural experts gathered to share their ideas for having healthier foods.
"We are trying to get the local soil healthier so we can grow locally grown and healthier and more nutritious produce. This will help our community by using compost instead of putting waste in landfills. If we have local produce, we can create jobs,'' she said.
The conference focused on techniques and applications of restoring soil fertility.
Several speakers shared ways of composting on turfs, soil and lawn as a way to help make the soil healthier and improve plant growing.
Topics were bringing life back to the soil, growing healthy in an urban setting, healthy habitats, importance of pollinators, and composting regulations.
Keymah Durden of Rid-All Green Partnership spoke on urban gardening programs creating agricultural areas in vacant properties and lots.
"This is all about working together," Durden said, noting that the effects of locally grown food are far reaching.
''You are not only helping to make changes in your community, but the world,'' Durden said.
He said he was impressed with the different groups locally and their grassroots efforts.
Durden said after the housing market crashed many vacant properties in cities were turned into gardens a major transformation of the lots.
Maggiano said there is a need to get down to basics and start from the ground up.
"We must be proactive in restoring our soil for ourselves and future generations," she said.
The Rid-All Green Partnership was started by three childhood friends, Damien Forsche, and Randy McShepherd and Durden. They have created an urban farm, in the Cleveland Kinsman Neighborhood where they grow healthy food for local residents of two greenhouses and four hoop houses. They have also started aquafarming with tilapia fish.
Speakers said intensive agricultural methods have led to ongoing soil degradation and decline in soil fertility. This has resulted in the depletion of the vitamins and minerals in the fruits and vegetables grown today.
Earth Angel Farm is a non-profit organization creating unique social and work force training settings in agricultural environments to support individuals with developmental disabilities.
Maggiano said from the seminar participants learned the importance of eating locally grown produce, attracting pollinators to the garden and composting techniques and applications for restoring soil fertility.