2019 CTC Annual Conference: Healthy Soils, Healthy Food, & Healthy People

By Dr. Rafiq Islam
SWBR Program Leader

Figure 1Healthy soil is the foundation of climate-smart (sustainable) agriculture. 

Rafiq Islam, the director of the Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources program at The Ohio State University South Centers delivered an in-depth research presentation titled  “Healthy Soils, Healthy Food, Healthy People” at the Cover Crops, No-Till, and Soil Health session of the Conservation Tillage and Technology Annual Conference (CTTC) at Ohio Northern University in Ada on Tuesday, March 5. 

In his presentation, Islam discussed how climate-smart agriculture, based on novel and holistic approaches of continuous no-till, cropping diversity with multi-species cover crops or blends, precision chemigation, soil amendments and chemical inducers, helps to improve soil quality and health to provide healthy and nutritious foods in the support of public health. 

Using long-term experimental data, Islam showed that healthy soils produce foods enriched and balanced with diverse amino acids and protein contents. Moreover, food grains produced on healthy soils are fortified with both macro- and micronutrients (higher nutrient density) especially nitrogen, protein, calcium, sulfur, iron, zinc, and others. Foods enriched and fortified with optimum and balanced concentrations of diverse amino acids and nutrients are expected to improve food quality to support better public health.