1. Soil


Full recording available to

students of the Academy

We could say that the destructo-culture, based on industrialized agriculture, carries a basic dysfunction, which is to see the soil as an inanimate thing, a resource to be exploited, & even something that can be seen as 'property' of human beings.

This paradigm has to change because it is at the base of great injustices & of the destruction of the most important base for life on Earth.
In this class we meet the soil as a living being, an organism of enormous complexity & importance, studying how it works in detail, from the microscopic to the global level.
To know soil intimately is fundamental for any sustainable design & to have a direct & vital relationship with this great organism helps us re-connect, physically as well as emotionally, with the Planet.

Symphony of the Soil

Symphony of the Soil explores the evolution and importance of soil in today's world. Discover the life beneath your feet.

Vídeo de YouTube

Symphony of the Soil is a 104-minute documentary feature film that explores the complexity and mystery of soil. 
Filmed on four continents and sharing the voices of some of the world's most esteemed soil scientists, farmers and activists, the film portrays soil as a protagonist of our planetary story. Using a captivating mix of art and science, the film shows that soil is a complex living organism, the foundation of life on earth. 
Yet most people are soil-blind and "treat soil like dirt." Through the knowledge and wisdom revealed in this film, we can come to respect, even revere, this miraculous substance, and appreciate that treating the soil right can help solve some of our most pressing environmental problems. 
In addition to the feature film, there are several short films, Sonatas of the Soil, that delve deeply into soil-related topics, and several short clips, Grace Notes, that are available to stream on the film's website. Produced and Directed by Deborah Koons Garcia 

Fourteen Billion Hectares of Hope

This is about Soil Carbon: putting it back where it belongs

Essential lecture about soils & the important interactions with animals.

Here Tony Lovell explains in some detail, starting with how & why we generally find this quite difficult to understand, how carbon is stored in soils, particularly grasslands (which can trap more Carbon than 4 times what a tropical forest can: this is very important for stopping catastrophic climate change).  

One of the truly great TED talks ... long but very important, explains why grazing animals could be so vitally important for our future (vegetarians might not like this...)

Vídeo de YouTube

                              Also see the Soils Video PlayList

Soil: From Dirt to Lifeline

Vídeo de YouTube

Fred Kirschenmann has been involved in sustainable agriculture and food issues for most of his life. He currently serves as both a Distinguished Fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University, and as President of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York. He also still provides management over site of his family's 2,600 acre organic farm in south central North Dakota. He was recently named as one of the first ten James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards which recognizes visionaries in creating more healthful, more sustainable, and safer food systems. He is the author of a book of essays which track the development of his thought over the past 30 years; Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: Essays by a Farmer Philosopher, published by the University of Kentucky Press. 

Dirt: The Movie

this is a must-see for all Earth-dwelling creatures ...

DIRT! The Movie - Screening Tools & Information



European Soil Portal

The European Soil Data Center is one of the ten environmental data centres in Europe and is the focal point for soil data at European level. The European Soil Portal contributes to a thematic data infrastructure for soils in Europe. It presents data and information regarding soils at European level. 

Field Book for Describing and Sampling Soils v 2.0

Schoeneberger, P.J., Wysocki, D.A., Benham, E.C., and Broderson, W.D. (editors), 2002.

NRCS, National Soil Survey Center, Lincoln, NE.

Available free in pdf format from: http://soils.usda.gov/technical/fieldbook/

Keys to Soil Taxonomy (11th edition)

Soil Survey Staff. 2010. USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Washington, DC.

Available free in pdf format from: http://soils.usda.gov/technical/classification/tax_keys/

Soil Science Society of America


The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a progressive international scientific society that fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils. Based in Madison, WI, and founded in 1936, SSSA is the professional home for 6,000+ members dedicated to advancing the field of soil science. It provides information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use.

Soil Survey Manual

Now available online, the Soil Survey Manual, published in October 1993, should be available in most Depository Libraries.

Soil Survey Manual

Soil Survey Division Staff (1993) USDA NRCS Agriculture Handbook no.18

Available free and in doc or pdf format at http://soils.usda.gov/technical/manual/download.html


Soil Taxonomy (2nd edition)

Soil Survey Staff. 1999. USDA-NRCS, Washington, DC Agriculture Handbook 436

Available free in pdf format from: http://soils.usda.gov/technical/classification/taxonomy/

The Sustainable Studies Institute


The SUSTAINABLE STUDIES INSTITUTE is a non-profit educational and research institute, focusing on soil as a regenerative system, and the relationship between soil, soil microbial life, soil fertility, agricultural productivity, and the environment.

Founded by soil microbiologist Dr. Elaine Ingham. Dr. Ingham is responsible for pioneering many of the currently used biological soil regeneration techniques and testing soil microbial life as an indicator of soil and plant health. Dr. Ingham holds the position of Chief Scientist at the Rodale Institute. 

Virtual Soil Science Learning Resources

The Dirt on Soil

a fun look at how to 'cook up' some soil - suitable for children!

Short Videos

The Story of Soil - short video clips describing the importance of healthy soil


Children's Educational Resources

Soil-Net.com - A wealth of educational resources about soil for children!


Vermi the Worm - a fun, educational online video and game about vermicomposting


Short Films for Children

The Rotten Journey - A soil story

The Rotten Journey - A Soil Story


There's a dialogue related to this page in the Integral Permaculture FB group (click icon to go there)

There's a dialogue in our FB group on this topic (click icon to go there)

Building Soil

very good article:

The Definitive Guide to Building Deep Rich Soils by Imitating Nature