TFT's adventure with the Soil Doctors

A pirated book could hold the key to the health of soil globally.

Farmer Vinod Jyani and world renowned agronomist Claude Bourguignon were two strangers living thousands of miles apart. Claude didn’t know his book Regenerating The Soil, which he wrote in his native French, had been copied into English and made available in India, where it became a constant source of inspiration to Vinod at his smallholding in Punjab.

When ‘soil doctor’ Bourguignon discovered this, he didn’t call his lawyers; he and his wife Lydia travelled with us to India to help Vinod and hundreds of other farmers with their organic farming. The results could change the way we treat land across the world, and ultimately how we live in the future. We have now this story on film which you can watch here.

Watch the film

Facts about soil

Farmers in India and around the world are losing the organic matter in their soil. Here’s what we have discovered:

    • Planting trees is essential to the health of soil – they retain water when there’s too much, and give it back when the earth is dry.
    • Trees should be planted around fields to protect crops from the elements.
    • It’s about planting the right trees – some make the soil infertile.
    • Machine ploughing is not good for soil – it uproots and kills the earthworms and other creatures that are essential for giving life to the earth.
    • Intercropping and rotating crops is vital to soil life. If you keep the same crops year after year, they will take always the same nutrients.
    • The soil needs time to regenerate, so keeping things fresh helps.
    • Worried about birds? Vinod has a separate patch of land just for the birds, and he finds they don’t bother his crops.


TFT’s work in soil

Soil represents an important aspect of our work. If it is not looked after trees cannot grow and if trees cannot grow you cannot do organic farming. We have worked with Maisons du Monde in an agroforestry project to support India farmers, which has resulted in 1,500 farmers planting 100,000 shisham trees in six years. 

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