Following a 300 million-year-old example
Clare Wimperis describes a growing system which completely eliminates digging, ploughing and tillage as well as all chemical applications, creating a sustainable food growing system that rebuilds soil and protects the climate
Zerodig Farms is a not-for-profit social enterprise changing the future of food production in the UK with no-dig growing. Current farming methods degrade soils, damage ecosystems and release massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, speeding up climate change. We’ve developed a no-dig growing system that works with Nature.
The system is efficient and can grow commercial quantities of food, enabling new growers to start and run their own farming businesses, producing highly nutritious food locally.
Zerodig is a pioneering approach to market gardening in the UK. By using the latest understanding of how to nurture and harness soil biology, soil is restored and healthy food is produced. At the same time, carbon is taken out of the atmosphere and stored in the soil - an ecosystem keystone. As the soil biology develops with Zerodig farming, the biodiversity of the land is regenerated.
There are literally billions of soil micro-organisms is each teaspoon of healthy Zerodig soil. These are nature’s helpers, and it is harnessing their diversity and activity that makes Zerodig farms efficient, successful and commercially viable on a small scale. This creates viable local livelihoods and sustains rural communities.
There are three pillars to Zerodig: climate action, ecosystem restoration and healthy food produced locally.
Zerodig achieves all these three objectives by feeding and nurturing the soil biology. To do this successfully one has to stop disturbing the soil – no more digging, no more cultivation, no more ploughing.
By harnessing the power of the soil biology and nurturing it to our benefit we can restore biodiversity, reverse eco-system collapse, put all that carbon back into the soil and grow healthy food.
Fungi are a key element of the Zerodig solution as their vast networks of tubular cells called mycelium are the big soil stabilisers and, when they link up with plant roots, give the plant access to a much larger soil area than the plant can access on its own.
The trick is to understand how, for over more than 300 million years, nature has perfected ways to grow strong healthy plants and, indeed, there is a fourth Zerodig pillar: always look for the solution in nature. Ask yourself what Mother Nature would do. You’ll almost always find the answer in the soil right under your feet.
Do look at our website zerodig.earth for more information.