Soil: The antidepressant you didn’t know you needed!

Soil: The antidepressant you didn’t know you needed!

If you’ve never curled your toes in loose mud and felt your worries wash away, then you’re missing out!

A teaspoon of healthy and thriving soil is said to contain almost between 100 million to 1 billion living microorganisms. These soil bacteria are responsible for the bright smiles, feeling of calm, relaxed state of mind and wave of peace that wash over you when you come in contact with them.

Research by Azim Premji University shows that that a soil bacterium called ‘Mycobacterium vaccae’ can act as an anti-depressant by releasing Serotonin(1) – a neurotransmitter that aids depression and reduces anxiety. We are likely to inhale or come in contact with these bacteria when we come in contact with healthy soil.

To understand this better, you first need to understand what soil is made up of. Soil consists mainly of mineral particles, organic materials, air, water and living organisms. A balance of these ingredients results in robust soil. When soil is subjected to chemical fertilizers or pesticides, this balance is skewed. The microorganisms and nutrients are destroyed leading to deficiencies in the soil and inevitably deficiencies in the produce.

As the world tilts towards a greater understanding of the importance of soil health, many natural and chemical-free ways to improve soil quality are coming to light. One of the forerunners in this is composting.

The reason composting is so popular is because it can be done by anyone, anywhere. It is the process of recycling organic matter like fruit and vegetable scraps and food waste into natural fertilizer that can enrich the soil. Composting improves soil health by conserving water, preventing soil erosion and creating eco-systems that are ideal for growth of soil microbes (Including the happy ones!)

The Akshayakalpa Organic farms at Tiptur and Pooriyambakkam, too, convert organic waste into compost, also known by farmers as ‘black gold’ to keep their soils at their best. During your visit to the farms, you can learn these simple and effective techniques to convert kitchen waste to compost and use it to add fertility and virility to your garden that will be a haven for serotonin-releasing bacteria.

So come, try your hand at making your own compost from scratch and take a step towards a healthier planet and a happier you. There’s never been a better reason to get your hands dirty!