Am I allowed to be this excited about dirt? Absolutely!! Soil is what gardening is all about, and it's also the subject of a new and (at least for me) exciting documentary called Dirt! The Movie. Dirt is definitely one of those ignored issues (especially when we're all up in arms about economic insanity), but it is without question more important than most people think. Check out the trailer for Dirt!:
Chris Lawrence, State Agronomist for the National Resources Conservation Service, recommended this movie at a recent horticulture conference.
Also, co-blogger Shannon recently recommended a book concerning similar topics: Dirt: The Erosion of Human Civilizations, by David R. Montgomery. According to a review on the Amazon website: "Montgomery...argues persuasively that soil is humanity's most essential natural resource and essentially linked to modern civilization's survival." I haven't read the book yet but I'm excited. When I went to see John Jeavons (GROW BIOINTENSIVE guru extraordinaire from California) speak at EMU, I remembered hearing him say 'peak soil' all the time. I was eager to hear more science and hard facts concerning the current situation with our total agricultural land and whether or not we have really reached a peak...
In any case, both of these resources sound like good motivation for getting your own compost bin cooking. Just because you're cutting down on 'discretionary' spending doesn't mean you can't afford a compost thermometer!