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Painting with Soil and Youth - Beth Sastre

Champions and Voices "4" the Soil

A group of people outdoors painting with soil.
Beth and a small group of youth sitting around a picnic table while painting with soil.

On a sunny day in mid-April, Beth Sastre handed out paper and paintbrushes around a picnic table for an outdoor art lesson. One unique material: the "paint" was soil-based! 

"There are moments in our lives that shape us forever, and through unbiased eyes and minds, we can lay the foundation for development and learning," said Beth. 

Beth is a Commercial Horticulturist and Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) Agent with Loudoun County. Part of her work as an agent includes educating youth about soil health through programs like Garden Sprouts at Potomac Vegetable Farms.

"I hope to transmit my passion for soil health with multi-sensorial activities to influence younger generations to take care of Mother Earth," she said, "starting with our Soil."

A group of people outdoors looking at the soil.
Beth and the youth get their hands in the soil.

At a young age, Beth's grandfather inspired her to pursue agronomy. "He would tell stories about working with the farmers and the agricultural workers and it was very nice," she said on Episode 23 - 8: of the 4 The Soil: A Conversation podcast

Along with her grandfather, Mother Nature's "resilience" continues to inspire Beth. "We need to help her," she said. 

Beth has long been fascinated by the beauty of natural resources and how our farming practices affect soil health. She enjoys sharing the value of soil health with farmers, homeowners, students, and Future Farmers of America in Loudoun County and across Virginia.

Beth is a champion and voice 4 The Soil! 

Painted pictures laying on a picnic table outdoors.
Soil-painted masterpieces designed by the youth.

"4 The Soil" is an idea to help promote our support and practice of the four core principles of soil health management (Keep the Soil Covered, Minimize Disturbance, Maximize Living Roots, and Energize with Diversity).

We can all be 4 The Soil! How can you be a champion or voice 4 The Soil? 


Do you know a soil health champion or voice in your community? Nominate them to be featured on the 4 The Soil blog! Email Mary Sketch-Bryant, Director of the Virginia Soil Health Coalition, at for details.

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