Symphony of the Soil
Photo of Deborah Koons Garcia courtesy of Nic Coury, "Monterey County Weekly"

Soil is not particularly gripping on the surface--it’s, well, a dirty shade of brown and crawling with insects. If you asked us to watch a full-length film about it, we’d politely decline.

That is until we heard about Symphony of the Soil, a new documentary by Deborah Koons Garcia. Convinced that most people are what she calls “soil blind,” meaning unaware and unappreciative of its value, Garcia devoted the film to digging up the latest science on and impact of dirt.

The environmentalist and filmmaker based in Mill Valley (and yes, Jerry’s widow) filmed on four continents--and, of course, right here in Northern California. Interviewing ecologists, activists and farmers, she uncovered countless reasons we should care more about what’s underfoot.

For starters, there isn’t an unlimited supply of what is literally the foundation for life on earth. Soil quality affects the healthfulness and flavor of our food (and more important, wine!). And when treated with synthetic fertilizers, soil can cause birth defects and developmental disorders in children.

So what can we do? Garcia advocates composting, chemical-free gardening, eating locally grown food and staying informed about relevant policy through organizations such as the Organic Consumers Association.

One thing’s for sure: You’ll never look at dirt the same way again.

“Symphony of the Soil” DVDs are available to preorder now. Check the website for upcoming screenings in the Bay Area.

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