It was Open Farm Sunday on 12th June and the MYHarvest team headed over to Our Cow Molly Farm in Sheffield. We teamed up with the P3 (Plant Production and Protection) centre at the University of Sheffield to create an event that linked soil quality and food production both at a farm scale and also at a small scale. The kids that came along ‘Soil Secret Agents’ used tweezers to search soils from different environments for invertebrates and then take their finds to the microscope to see the organisms up close. Whilst, this was all great fun for the kids there was a serious message there, these organisms are a key indication of a soils quality. For example, in the UK we have 27 species of worm and they do really important work breaking down organic matter and moving it through the soil, and we had worm farms set up so people could see this process in action.
We also had the rhizotron set up, this is a great way to see plant roots in action, holding the soil together, creating air spaces, and giving plants access to nutrients and water. Our ‘Improving our soils to improve our food’ handout was really popular as it gave instructions to set up mini-rhizotrons and worm farms at home (we will get this up on our website soon).
The MYHarvest plant labels and stickers were enthusiastically received and it was great to hear how many children were having a go at growing their own food in small plots in their gardens or in containers. Fingers crossed they will keep growing and safeguarding our soils.