Thank you for your interest in our Devon soil...

Happy April Fools' Day!

As much as we’d love to send you some soil, the vegetables would never forgive us.

In fact, protecting the soil on our land is one of the most vital principles of organic farming. Keep reading to find out why soil is so important, and how you’re helping us look after it.

What’s the challenge - and how can you help?

We all depend on fertile soil; it’s where 95% of our food comes from. But intensive agriculture is degrading this natural resource faster that it can be replenished. One third of the world’s arable soil is now unsuitable for growing crops.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Here are just a few simple steps we can take to protect our soil:

  1. Choose organic and eat with the seasons

    Thank you for choosing organic and eating seasonally – that’s one of the best ways to support the world’s soil. Scroll down to learn more about how organic farmers are protecting soil.

    For everything you need to know about veg, including when it’s in season, go to our A-Z of veg; or head to our recipe hub for seasonal recipe inspiration.

  2. Look out for compostable packaging and create fertile soil at home

    You may not be able to buy a box of our Devon earth (sorry for the disappointment!), but if you have a garden, you can create fertile soil at home. Our head gardener Penny explains how you can get started on Wicked Leeks.

    Plus, all our fruit and veg packaging is now home compostable (where packaging is needed at all). Can’t compost at home? Return it to us, and we’ll use it to grow more veg!

  3. Spread the word

    Share your love for organic and the importance of soil health with your friends and family – together we can make a difference.

    And if you’re a fan of Riverford, please nominate us as your choice for the nation’s favourite organic product at this year’s BOOM (Best of Organic Market) Awards. We really appreciate your support.

We don’t treat our soil like dirt

Growing vast fields of a single crop (monocultures) every year, heavy machinery, artificial fertilisers… These intensive farming practices are severely degrading soil at a rate of 24 billion tonnes every year.

Organic farmers never use artificial fertilisers. Instead, we use crop rotation and companion planting; each field is cycled through various crops over time, designed to keep the soil naturally fertile and healthy. That’s why the soil on organic farms contains, on average, 20% more organic matter.

For example, many of our fields spend two years out of every five as grazing land for dairy cows, growing a mix of grass, chicory and red clover. The soil rests and builds fertility, ready to be planted with veg again the next year.

Fighting climate change with healthy soil

If all the cultivated land in the UK was farmed organically, we could save 64 million tonnes of carbon over 20 years – equivalent to taking nearly a million cars off the road.

The land beneath our feet is also one of our most important weapons against climate change: healthy soil sequesters carbon underground, preventing it from being released into the atmosphere. There are 2500 billion tonnes of carbon stored in the world’s soils! That’s more than in all plants, trees and the atmosphere combined.

Organic farmland sequesters around 3.5 extra tonnes of carbon per hectare, and is around 25% more effective at storing carbon for the long term.

Spade digging into organic soil at Wash Farm in Devon

Thanks for taking the time to read about our soil. Lots of our organic veg is grown in our very own Devon earth; see below for a few of this week's seasonal treats...

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