Every year the United Nations hosts World Soil Day on December 5th. This year, the theme was “Soils, Where Food Begins”. The goal is to raise awareness of the importance of healthy soils and to engage citizens around the world. Nutrient-deficient soil affects over 2 billion people worldwide. Nutrients are lost from modern farming practices that damage the soil including misuse of fertilizers, reliance on chemicals, tilling the soil which accelerates the loss of carbon and failure to use year-round cover crops, which feed the soil.
These practices are not confined to farming. Residential land management is plagued with the same practices and similar outcomes. There is a growing movement in farming to implement practices to restore soil health known as regenerative farming. This is what prompted Soil Shepherds, a regenerative landscaping company in Avondale, Pennsylvania, to participate in the soil cake contest. The contest was an enjoyable and meaningful way for Soil Shepherds to spread the word about regenerative land management practices to homeowners.
Soil Shepherd’s cake submission was designed to replicate Delaware’s Greenwich soil which is high in nutrients making it excellent for farming. Each “soil horizon”, or cake layer, was differentiated by using six different nuts – Chestnut, Almond, Peanut, Hazelnut, Walnut and Pecan. Each layer included one nut ground into a flour combined with eggs and sugar. The uppermost topsoil was Nutella with vegetables made of chocolate fondant.