In celebration of the International Year of Soil 2015 (IYS), the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is coordinating a series of activities throughout the year to educate the public about the importance of soil. July’s theme is “Soils Are Living”.

In SSSA’s July 15 Soils Matter blog post, experts explain the positive role soil bacteria play in our daily lives.

“There are millions of different types of microbes that live in the soil. Organisms that cause diseases reside in soils,” said Mary Stromberger, soil scientist at Colorado State University. “But, those “bad” bacteria live amongst the good bacteria, fungi and other animal life in the soil—which is called biodiversity. This variety of life in soil helps keep things balanced. Thus, most of the time, soil microbes are beneficial to the environment, rather than being a threat.”

Soil bacteria are necessary for soil health. The convert naturally occurring chemicals—like nitrogen from the air—into food that plants can use. They help to recycle chemical elements from decomposing plants and animals. Ultimately, those nutrients get into our diets in the form vegetables and fruits.

To read the entire blog post here.

As part of their celebration of IYS, SSSA is developing a series of twelve 2-minute educational videos. July’s Soils Are Living video can be viewed on their website here.