The latest dirt

Egg Regs Wrap Up by Sadie Chrestman (Sprout subcommittee member)
Salmonella enters the human food chain through the poor handling of raw eggs and raw/undercooked chicken. But whose mishandling causes a particular case isn’t always easy to ascertain (according to the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services).
In a bid to reduce the rising levels of salmonella , FSANZ (Food Standards Australia New Zealand) introduced regulations aimed at limiting contamination by the producers of eggs. Small producers  quickly realised that the cost of compliance would make their market and roadside stalls untenable. And so began eighteen months of lobbying and debate. And … DPIPWE listened.
In February the final Egg Food Safety Scheme was introduced. Smallholders whose hens produce less than 20 dozen eggs a week must maintain the standards required by FSANZ but they don’t have to be accredited or audited. Small egg businesses must  notify Biosecurity Tasmania that they intend to sell eggs and they’ll send you a a free hand stamper so you can stamp your eggs with a unique hand stamp.
If you’ve read this far, you are probably considering selling your delicious free range beta carotene yolked eggs and the best place to start researching what you need to know is here.
International Year of the Soils by Joy Phillips (Sprout board member)
In acknowledgement of 2015 being declared the International Year of Soils (IYS) by the United Nations General Assembly, Sprout Tasmania encourages our supporters and the wider community to ‘dig into’ increasing their awareness and understanding of the importance of healthy soil for future food security, as well as essential ecosystem functions.
Soil is the foundation for vegetation, which is cultivated for feed, fibre, fuel and medicinal products. Soil also plays the critical role of supporting our planet’s biodiversity. It also helps to combat and adapt to climate change by playing a key role in the carbon cycle. Additionally soil stores and filters water, improving our resilience to floods and droughts.
“Australia is the driest inhabited continent with some of the world’s oldest, shallowest and most weathered soils. Over 70% of the land area is classed as semi-arid or arid. Of the total land area (762 million ha), barely a tenth is suitable for sown crops and pastures and then only after the addition of fertilizers and/or legumes to ensure the soils are suitable for moderate levels of agricultural production.”

As soil is so precious to our planet’s health and everything upon it, its preservation is fundamental for future food security and our sustainable future. Below you’ll find many interesting links, videos and games for all ages to get involved in learning about why healthy soil is so essential for healthy food production.

Healthy Soils are the Basis for Healthy Food Production

Healthy Soils are the Basis for Healthy Food Production
Downloadable information sheet

Soil Quality has been established to benchmark sites across Australia to identify and highlight the nature and extent of soil biological, chemical and physical constraints to production systems. They provide the basis of an ongoing soil quality monitoring and education program specifically for Tasmanian soils –

Various videos pertaining to soils

Soil Health for Farming in Tasmania (2009) Bill Cotching

Land Management and Soils Dept of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment Tas (DPIPWE)

Soil Maps of Tasmania

Building Soils for Better Crops, Third Edition (2010) Magdoff & Van Es
Free download

Symphony of the Soil documentary
Drawing from ancient knowledge and cutting edge science, Symphony of the Soil is an artistic exploration of the miraculous substance soil. By understanding the elaborate relationships and mutuality between soil, water, the atmosphere, plants and animals, we come to appreciate the complex and dynamic nature of this precious resource.

The film also examines our human relationship with soil, the use and misuse of soil in agriculture, deforestation and development, and the latest scientific research on soil’s key role in ameliorating the most challenging environmental issues of our time.

Filmed on four continents, featuring esteemed scientists and working farmers and ranchers, Symphony of the Soil is an intriguing presentation that highlights possibilities of healthy soil creating healthy plants creating healthy humans living on a healthy planet.



The Living Soil is a 17-minute film from Tadpole Artists Collective.

(Make sure you click on the CC icon to tick English subtitles.)

Dirt! The Movie, narrated by Jamie Lee Curtis, brings to life the environmental, economic, social and political impact that soil has. It shares the stories of experts from all over the world who study and are able to harness the beauty and power of a respectful and mutually beneficial relationship with soil.

Let’s Talk About Soil

This animation film emphasizes human dependence on soils and describes how sustainable development is threatened by trends in the management of soils and the governance of land.

Designer and animator Uli Henrik Strechenbach produced it for the First Global Soil Week in 2012.

The Organic Stream Talk Show is a podcast about organics recycling and soil management featuring experts and key figures in the environmental sphere. They focus on sharing their insights, experiences and best practices in collecting, composting and bio-digesting organic material.

The Organic Stream also has a free online course, Build Your Organics Management Vision, which includes:

Healthy soil – healthy food – healthy people

Mixed waste & the graveyards of sustainability

Source-Separating to retain the true value of our organic streams

Implementing separate collection for organic materials

How can legislation set the stage for an organics recovery “ecosystem”?

Evaluating composting best practices: How to?

Evaluating anaerobic digestion best practices: How to?

Key insights for your start-up roadmap

Why Soils Are So Important – video from NSW Soil Knowledge Network

Soils: Introducing the World Beneath Our Feet

A free online course where you learn about soils, the variety of life they contain and how humans impact this fragile system.

Starts 6th July and goes for 4 weeks

Visual Soil Assessment (VSA) Manual & Field Guides

Practical field guides used to carry out a quantitative soil analysis with reproducible results using very simple tools. The Visual Soil Assessment manual consists of a series of separate booklets for specific crop groups. The field guides address scientists, field technicians, and farmers who want to analyse their soil condition and observe changes over time.

For young and old….

The Hidden Life of Soils

This card game, in the style of Go Fish!, will help you discover the hidden organisms that inhabit the soil, how they live and how to study them. For ages 8+

I Heart Soil: Colouring and Activity Book. (2015) Soil Science Society of America

Curumim and Cunhanta: Helping Soil Biodiveristy (2009) Fatima Moreira, Julio Louzada & Ronald Zanetti, Editors & Scriptwriters

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