Banking On Soil – A Thought Experiment

Text by Alisa. Illustration by Ameli Tanchista.

Imagine a veggie patch at the beginning of spring. The soil is turned, watered, and ready for planting. This dark, lumpy bed is a bank account. For the purpose of this experiment the dollars and cents will be organic matter and nutrients.

In this soil account you can deposit compost and fertiliser. And lucky you! Before you begin gardening you receive interest payments from the compost you deposited last season and the old plants left in the ground. These organics have been feeding the soil ecosystem, the branch of the bank in control of calculating and providing interest payments. The soil ecosystem—a thriving underground city with billions of inhabitants—is what makes nutrients available for plants to absorb and helps protect plants from disease. The more you deposit and the higher the balance, the higher the interest payments.

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