Down to Earth

Dying soil: An invisible crisis at our feet

One third of the world's topsoil has already been degraded. The usual suspects are to blame: intensive agriculture and its rampant pesticides, erosion and global warming. At the current rate of destruction, we could only have 60 years of crop production left.


Soil is an invaluable source of life. It keeps an ecosystem in balance, absorbs carbon and filters water to halt flooding. More importantly, it feeds us. As a matter of fact, 95 percent of our food comes from soil.

In an effort to restore their soil and preserve their livelihood, a scattering of farmers in France have been trying an alternative mode of farming known as conservation agriculture. The method has three key principles, the main one being to forgo machinery, effectively leaving the soil undisturbed. Today, only less than five percent of French farmers practice this type of agriculture. So can the method go mainstream?

In this episode of Down to Earth, we meet farmers who want to bring their soil back to life.

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