Building and managing soil health can teach us how to develop a growth mindset.
Carol Dweck, the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, studies the benefits of this approach. She describes a “growth mindset” as an understanding that one’s abilities can grow through hard work. A growth mindset welcomes a challenge, builds resilience, and sustains a desire to learn.
This counters a fixed mindset, which fixates on a present issue and becomes overwhelmed. A fixed mindset often turns negative and lacks hope —which can be detrimental to a long-term goal.
A growth mindset seems to reflect the dedication to follow the four principles of soil health management: though growth and change may not be immediate, caretakers can help build healthier soils through hard work.
On April 21 2022, 4 The Soil visited Jason Pall “JP” and Sally Walker to tour their farm Glade Road Growing in Blacksburg, Virginia.
The rolling landscape of Glade Road Growing has a healthy silt loam soil and a thriving, diverse ecosystem. For over 12 years, the family has continued to build soil health using the four principles of soil health management.
"It's not the 'cow' it's the 'how,’” said Nicolette Hahn Niman, rancher and author of Defending Beef on Episode 22-6 of the podcast 4 The Soil: A Conversation. “The 'how' is the management, the 'cow' can be destructive if not properly managed, but she can also be extremely beneficial."
In building health from the soil up, we discover how intricate ecosystems connect. We gain numerous co-benefits from applying the four principles of soil health management, and one of them is increasing the health of livestock.
Have you ever seen a field with standing water after a rainstorm, then dried up in the heat of summer? It might seem normal, particularly as we experience more extreme weather patterns.
But what if the soil could retain more water, store it deeper, and use it when necessary?
Healthy soils work like a sponge. Rather than becoming saturated in the rain, healthy soil is better able to absorb rainfall and save it for a drier time.
We are thrilled to announce the winners of the Earth Month 2022 Photo Contest! Thank you to all who submitted, and please stay tuned for more opportunities to win 4 The Soil "swag bags!"
For each of the four core principles of soil health management, one photographer received a 4 the Soil "swag bag" and will be featured throughout our campaign. See the winning photographs and learn their stories below.
About the Blog
Join the movement! 4 The Soil is a campaign by the Virginia Soil Health Coalition to raise awareness of soil as an agricultural and natural resource. By caring for the soil, we can build healthier communities, stronger economies, and a more resilient landscape.