Scrolling through The Poetic of Soil Health may get you longing for some ground food: the recipes look lush, appetising and strangely inedible. Think of it—a lasagna built with layers of cardboard squeezing in bog moss, topped with crunchy wood chips. This may not be your gut’s favourite but the microbes living in your garden will gorge it all. But why would you prepare a lasagna to leave it untouched in the garden? Arina Shokouhi explains that soil nutrition is as important as human nutrition, and proposes several recipes to boost microbial communities living under our feet.
Soil, the pile of brown crumbly stuff beneath our feet that is collectively deemed as dirt, is fundamental for human and nonhuman survival for it not only provides food, but its conditions will determine the quality of food. “We need to educate more around soil microorganisms and understand why Soil is life beneath our feet and why we need to stop ignoring it and instead treat it with care.” Arina manifests that in a culture ridden with obsessive models of dieting and omnipresent conversations around nutrition we have missed to include the benefits of a healthy soil.
Although in some of the recipes vegetables are spotted, Arina clarifies that the first step to composing organic matter is to avoid buying more food than needed and learning how to store food correctly. Food after human consumption—dried tea bags, egg shells, coffee pulps—can be arranged into easy-to-make dishes to “feed the soil with us.” Arina’s cookbook is a call to embrace and take care of the soil, “Food is the most ancient carrier of culture, cooking for someone is an act of care”
This project is devised in response to soil depletion following practices inspired by Indigenous people and personal cooking methods. The Poetic of Soil Health, furthermore, aims to “encourage communities for a continued care for soil as a requisite for successful repair of our environment.”
+ Words: Alejandra Espinosa, Luxiders Magazine Editor
Liberal Arts graduate | Berlin-based writer
Connect with her through alejandraespinosa.site