Earthworms don’t often get a lot of credit for the incredible benefits they provide for farmers and others who grow food and plants. Yet, that’s starting to change. Exciting research and grower experience alike point to the importance of the soil health that worms make possible in advancing a regenerative agriculture system. Here are a few ways that happens.
For example, in an article published in the journal Soil Security, researchers Claire N. Friedrichsen et al. pointed out that soil health isn’t just important for cultivating more sustainable food production — it also helps professionals who depend on the soil to maintain independence and collaborate with nature. It can strengthen rural communities and increase respect for food and plant production professionals among the general public. Soil health can even empower us to live more creative lives and pursue our hopes and dreams. Those are big impacts made possible by the power of worms!
From a scientific standpoint, worms power regenerative agriculture by giving back to the soil. They move nutrients from below the surface of the soil to upper layers of the soil, making them accessible to crops. They also create air pockets that promote root growth and enable the soil to hold more life-giving water. As Jacqueline Stroud, a research fellow at Scotland’s Rural College, puts it, worms are “ecosystem engineers that benefit both food production and ecosystem services associated with soil security.”
As we learn more about regenerative agriculture, we’re discovering that worms are a step ahead of people in keeping the land healthy. For example, more farmers increasingly limit their tillage—turning over of the soil in preparation for planting. Instead of moving the soil, they are leaving it in place, incorporating plants such as cover crops to encourage soil health and letting worms move the soil for them. In turn, the byproduct of worms is rich in nutrients that build back the soil and help crops grow.
Indigenous knowledge transfer
Above the soil’s surface, worms make it possible to understand and implement traditional forms of knowledge. For example, Indigenous cultures have appreciated the value of soil health and worms for millennia. Many of these people groups practiced regenerative agriculture before others started identifying it as such. For example, waffle gardening helped Zuni growers in the Southwest maintain crop productivity with limited available water. Squares of earth surrounded by raised mounds help direct scarce moisture to plants. And though many people have used nature to aid human health for generations, organizations such as Soil Health Institute are beginning to put time and research dollars to work to better understand soil’s intersection with physical well-being.
Worms are the unquestioned star of regenerative agriculture systems that help grow food and plants. If you are a grower looking to improve how you do business, and considering ways to work more closely with nature, Worm Power can help. Our vermicomposting product, Worm Power Liquid Extract, is an incredible amendment with a proven track record. Call us today at 855-260-9676 or visit us online to get started.