This project is the result of a twelve-week research course that intends to highlight the necessary change in existing food production systems and integrate new ways of thinking. Soil; the forgotten ingredient sheds a light on the invisible life present in soil and where it stands in the biosphere. Why is it so valuable? Soil biology is a deep, complex system but this project aims to explain it's very core.

Through the research it has become clear that current system of food production is insufficient to deliver healthy food to the earth’s fast growing population where increasingly more people go to bed hungry, lacking vitamins and minerals. Reports show that mineral and nutrition levels in fruits and vegetables have dropped by merely 80% in the past forty years. This problem originates in the soil but goes hand in hand with harvesting processes, transportation and storage.

Soil health has been defined as the capacity to function as a vital living system, within ecosystem and land use boundaries, to sustain biological productivity, promote air quality and water environment and to maintain plant, animal and human health. We cannot have good, sustainable and delicious food without healthy soil that is filled with life.

The world’s current industrial food production system is based upon profit, monoculture and productivity maximization. This results in drought, soil depletion and suppression of soil diversity. The sustainable, natural, way of growing food centers around co-operation, co-creation, communication, culture, passion, history and traditions.

With food production moving far away from the consumer, there is a gap that must be bridged. This project encourages you to be inspired, be curious, connect back with nature, embrace soil and go back to science, back to basics.

01   —   Soil biota includes roots and mycorrhiza and are important in supplying plants with nutrients / source   
02   —   Mind map about soil
03   —   "We're pretty blind to what’s going on beneath the soil,” says Jim Richardson, a photographer who revealed what lays beneath, exposing the extravagant root system of plants for a 2008 National Geographic magazine story / source   
04   —   Interactive plant / source   
05   —   The Dust Bowl in the 1930s lasted for a decade in the southern planes in USA. It was an ecological disaster resulting from the wheat boom of the "Great Plow-Up" after aggressively exploiting the farm land / source   
06   —   A Soils Worth, a book shedding light on the invisible life of soils.

Thomas Pausz
Garðar Eyjólfsson