Congratulations to Jacqueline Louie, from Calgary, who won our draw for two free tickets to the Soil & Sustainability Convention featuring Elaine Ingham.

It would be swell
To learn more about soil
To learn more about dirt
I’d give my shirt.

-Jacqueline Louie

Thanks to everyone who submitted a poem about soil – we will be posting them up around the conference.

Here is a random selection of some of the submissions:

We compost our fruit peels, veggie leaves, egg shells snd more
For compost , good to make soil nutrient levels soar!

The “bagger” no more, yes the manicured look of our lawn shall foil
But let the clippings go back on the soil!

The worms, diligently working to create their black gold
Help create a sustainable land, long after we are old.

The drought may come but never create a dry barren gulch
Because we have been proactive, covering our soil with a deep layer of mulch.

I will happily toil long hours for my soil
To create a little piece of earth, resilient and unspoiled!


Sharon Grant-Sosnoski

There once was a wise speaker named Elaine,
who spoke of all things “sustain”
from soil to toil to cob oven boil
from swales to straw bales and other soil tales
I hope to hear her refrain…

Heather Elander

Soil is alive beneath our feet.
It smells very good, almost good enough to eat.
One teaspoon is full of billions of critters.
So be sure to mulch it with lots of leaf litters.
When you look back on life and think, “what did it mean?”,
I hope you don’t think it’s about being clean.
Get your hands in the dirt and remember these words,
“The soil is in you”, now let’s all be soil nerds!

Rene Michalak
Red Deer

There once was a man named Burt
Who made compost tea in a yurt
All day he would toil
For life in the soil
Because without life it’s just dirt!

Jesse Frank

we hate to boast
we do it the most
with help from our host
the red wiggler worm.

They may make you squirm
but you needn’t be queasy
cause they make it so easy.
to turn your kitchen waste,
into a beautiful paste
that nurture’s your garden,
prevents it from hardening
helps to grow veggies with great taste
instead of a creating a stinky waste.

That is why,
the red wiggler worm
should not make you squirm

They are your hosts
that do the most

John Hague

Water, air, fire and earth
Join together for the planet’s rebirth

Water to quench a persistent thirst
The air’s oxygen reimbursed

Fire of the sun to feed the shoots
Earth’s strong foundation to hold true the roots

A past riddled with hardship and strife
Replaced with lands filled with life

No longer can we only bring hurt
With hands in the soil and feet in the dirt

Laurie Cunningham

There was a soil Biologist named Elaine.
Her request for a limerick was driving me insane.
I went outside to get inspiration,
looked at the ground in fascination.
The Soil Food Web is all I could ascertain!

Jane Emlyn

There once was a small worm named Finn,
who lived in a dark compost bin.
he liked to eat fruit
but it make him toot,
especially when the bin did spin!

Juliette Cochrane (age 5) …with a little help from mom + dad

We grew our first garden
and wow, was it fun.

We planted and weeded
and basked in the sun.

Max tried peppers and peanuts
and even some melons.

I tried berries and garlic
and next want to try lemons!

We really don’t know much past plant, and then water.
We want to learn more from Elaine and go farther.

Max and Michelle
12 yr old son and mom who planted their very first garden this year

Sacred Be

Sacred be the dust that blows
along the ancient peaks and valleys, to
settle in the ditch and slough, in
layers down where plants may root,

And Sacred be the bugs within us
on us, through us, it is so that
more of them there are than all the
cells that in our bodies grow.

Sacred be the 60 thousand
species toiling day and night
in compost piles beside us there
within the garden’s beauty bright.

Sacred be the food they make
for all the plants to raise their children.
By the billion life renews;
this miracle has formed us too.

Sacred be the worm and virus,
nematode and spider mite, they
dine upon the creatures fallen, to
keep in spin the wheel of life,

Sacred be the fire that rages,
through the forest swift it flees
sweeping up the gathering layers
strengthening the growing trees.

Sacred be the big brain walking
on the planet all around
seeing how this all supports us
feeds us, clothes us, keeps us sound.

We are a population tiny
‘gainst the leagues of trillions with us, but
with a careless mood such waste
can we cause in our haste, or …

see and learn and come to cherish, while
stumbling through race adolescence, ’till
like our wizened guides invite, we
live in Nature’s sacred presence.

River Judd, 2006

Happy Knees

All my life I’ve known
The garden is a happy home for my kneecaps.
They nestle into the warm, wet earth,
And I feel divine, elated.

Drunk winds orchestrate the swaying canopies above me.
Sunshine floats between the dance of happy shade,
Flaking tree trunks with gold.

Life rises around me,
Invincibly from all sides
Unbeatable red tomatoes
Towering corn packed tight,
Yellow with thread white tassels and silk,
The calendula: radiant, so orange!
Bright, bright orange!
Someone tell me how!

In this kingdom
I observe magic laws,
The way things tumble, twine, and play together.

I close my eyes,
And rub the soil flecked around my nails.
My fingertips drift across the leaves and stems,
wandering across wild textures,
Mighty drops,
A thousand little plummets,
Zigs, lurches, and zags.
I hover here, I hover there,
The way a bee sweeps petals for pollen.

In the grooves, ridges, and lines,
The veins and capillaries,
I learn each plants in’s and out’s,
I pick up secrets only touch can reach.

I ramble across dragon-scaled kale
And rubbery swiss chard,
Stiff wild flower stocks,
Furry cucumbers, spiky cucumbers –
A little standoffish.
Not all tasty things want to be eaten,
But tasty things must be eaten
if you want the best of what life has to give you.

I probe the soil and track
how far down the moisture has gone.
I clump and squeeze, see what water holds.
I have my own categories for planets.
You don’t find these on the seed packets in the spring.:

“Kale is a fun plant.
Kale is always happy.”

“Beans are an easy win.
They sprout fast.”

“Radishes, I can eat those right away,
Within a week, for sure.
Plop, plop, plop –
Radishville real estate is prime.”

Purple fireweed stands nearby.
I run my hand along it
And gut for the fluff on the inside
Which I fashion into a wizened beard and bushy owl eyebrows.
A good garden can hold the imagination of a good mind.

Dakota skips into the garden, wagging,
Her paws paddling the soil.
I pet her and fur sticks to my fingers.
“My love is not unconditional,” she telepaths. “You owe me walks.”
Then she bounds away, caught up in her own delight,
Filled with ease and certainty she will have her adventure.
I shake the dirt off my happy knees and call after her.

Zachary Polis

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