- The Plate
This Quilt Is Covered in Dirt—on Purpose
Urbanized populations are losing their connection to life-supporting soil. One farmer is letting the dirt speak for itself.
With more than 50 percent of the global population now living in urban areas, our relationship to soil has become more and more shallow. But for soil scientist and farmer Erin Schneider, who spends the bulk of her days elbow-deep in the loamy soils of Wisconsin’s Sauk County, soil carries a message worth delivering.
So when the United Nations declared 2015 the International Year of Soils, she took the opportunity to dig into dirt’s artistic side, sending a few dozen squares of sturdy cotton fabric to farmer friends and researchers across eight states. Her instructions: Bury them in the earth for two weeks before shipping them back. The idea was to make soil’s work more visible by encouraging its microbes