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Press release  •  1 min

The Hidden Power of Healthy Soil: Saving Canadian Agriculture from the Climate Crisis

Published on 

Montreal, March 1, 2021 –  Équiterre and Greenbelt Foundation have released a new report which illustrates how healthy soils will help Canadian farmers adapt to climate change and play an even larger role in addressing the climate crisis.

"We know from farmers how important soil health is and that there are often barriers to adopting new practices that address current challenges," says Edward McDonnell, CEO of Greenbelt Foundation.

"Voluntary implementation of new practices can involve investments by farmers, specialized knowledge, and understanding of the business case for an individual farm operation. Through this project, we’ve identified public policy and funding solutions for governments that will help Canadian agriculture be a leader in production, profitability, and climate resilience."

Building on previous work, the Power of Soil report offers a comprehensive overview of Canada’s current agri-environmental policy, provides practical solutions, and bridges existing knowledge gaps. The report findings are the result of hard work, wisdom, and consensus-building among leading agricultural organizations, advisory committees, and other actors from two of Canada’s most important food-producing regions: Ontario and Quebec.

Challenges and Solutions 

Be it extreme weather, resistance to herbicides and pesticides or debt, the challenges are numerous and mounting for our farmers. Extreme weather events, such as  the 2001 and 2002 droughts and the 2010 and 2011 floods, had devastating impacts on crop yields. Future events could lead to a reduction of 50% in annual yields. Change is necessary - and soil health should be a catalyst.

“Improved soil health is a win-win-win for farm viability, the planet, and people,” says Colleen Thorpe, Executive Director at Équiterre. “This natural solution is an underestimated tool with which we can face many of the challenges that threaten our food security. We really hope that our new report will help it become more mainstream."

The report highlights innovative policies and programs, like the creation of a “National Soil Health Network,” a national soil health “check-up tool,” and soil health training programs for advisors and farmers.

Some best practices are already common in Canada: reduced tillage, planting diverse cover crops, and keeping living roots in soil all year round. The challenge now is to get more farmers to use these techniques and support ongoing innovation and knowledge-sharing.

-Short version with Key Recommendations
-Long version with Analysis and Background


For more information:

Anthony Côté Leduc, Media Relations, Équiterre
514 605-2000,

Michael Young, Communications Advisor, Greenbelt Foundation
(416) 960-0001 ext: 311,