In his book Out of the Earth, soil conservationist Daniel Hillel describes how dirt is “a rich mix of mineral particles, organic matter, gases, and nutrients which, when infused with vital water, constitutes a fertile substrate for the initiation and maintenance of life. The soil,” he says, “is thus a self-regulating biological factory, utilizing its own materials, water, and energy from the sun.” Quite apart from human ingenuity, soil offers us the gift of a life that is sustainable, honoring the needs of all its members and keeping a rhythm that works for the whole. To know the soil as our source is to learn its wisdom and to honor its gift. When we remember that we came from dust and are returning to it, we see in daily life why ecology and economy share the same root in the Greek work for “home.” We are never at home in the gift of God’s creation until we reconcile our economic activity to the soil that is the basis of every ecosystem. We cannot eat well without learning the sort of membership that is manifest in the mystery of the soil.
We are, each of us, benefactors of the soil. We eat together to remember this.Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, The Awakening of Hope,pg 40-41