Paul Quinn College Wants to Teach Aspiring Farmers to Dig Dirt

Calling all aspiring farmers: Paul Quinn College's "We Over Me Farm" would like to teach you a little bit about soil and how to make it better.

If you talk to most farmers or ranchers, they would tell you they are actually dirt farmers. In fact, they spend quite a bit of time thinking about dirt. That's because without good soil, you can't grow good food. You would think this concept is a no-brainer, but it's definitely not the way most food is grown in conventional agriculture. There the importance is placed on bigger, better, faster food through chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

The farm is having a series of five classes this summer covering a variety of farming topics. The first class is from 9 a.m. to noon this Saturday, and they'll be discussing (you guessed it) soil biology and field prep.

While at first glance it might seem like not a whole lot is going on, soil is actually a pretty complicated place filled with hundreds of millions of bacteria, fungi and other tiny things as well as a whole bunch of nutrients that the food we eat or the food our food eats needs to grow.

Andrea Bithell, who will be teaching the class, says that different soils present different challenges. Those of us in the blackland prairie have soil that is rich in nutrients, but those nutrients are locked up in clay. On the other end, some of us live on sandy loam and the challenge is to keep nutrients from washing away.

And if you are thinking of going but are afraid you will fall asleep that early on a Saturday, never fear because the entire workshop is hands-on, included preparing and eating fresh melon salsa.

To sign up for Saturday's class, send an email to pqcfarm@pqc.edu. For more workshop dates and topics, visit the farm's website.

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