As part of my research I have been looking at topsoil. It was interesting to investigate how to acquire topsoil, I was amazed at how much was available.
The Installation is called; ‘The Ground beneath our Feet’. The title is taken from a guardian article written by Bibi van der Zee less than a year ago titled: ‘UK is 30-40 years away from ‘eradication of soil fertility’, warns Gove’. It describes a speech by Michael Gove to the Sustainable Soils Alliance (SSA):
“If you have heavy machines churning the soil and impacting it, if you drench it in chemicals that improve yields but in the long term undercut the future fertility of that soil, you can increase yields year on year but ultimately you really are cutting the ground away from beneath your own feet. Farmers know that.”
In researching about topsoil I have become quite concerned about the urgency of this issue. George Monbiot also talks about soil fertility and the urgency of it, as well as the government’s environment agency and the lack of action taking place.
In deciding how to present the work and what aspects to emphasise, I have had to be careful about overloading with information so I havn’t mentioned much about soil, other than an indication towards the potential it holds and crucial key role it plays in our lives, simply with a title:
‘SOIL (It’s not dirt!)’
“SOIL is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases,
liquids and organisms that together support life”
The title and quote are for a video I have put together from the installation footage, showing the team of volunteers moving the 4.5 tonnes of soil around. Raking, shovelling, barrowing, tipping, sowing.