Not since the K-mart “Shipped my pants” commercial tickled our scatological funny bone has humankind come up with a better line than the Soil Conservation Council of Canada’s new ad campaign, Soil Your Undies for science.
Kicking off next week’s National Soil Conservation Week, the SCCC has unveiled its new project for all those budding soil scientists out there. “What better way to understand the inner workings of our soil than with your own easy-to-do soil science experiment,” SCCC chair and Ontario farmer, Alan Kruszel said in a press release. “Healthy soil is full of amazing, living organisms. It is what sustains us and is the foundation of a thriving civilization”
Initiated by the Innovative Farmers of Ontario, the plan is to get as many Canadians to troop out to their backyards and gardens with a fresh (well, not necessarily) pair of 100 per cent white cotton undies and bury them underground, plant a flag on the spot to keep track and then dig them up two months later to see what you’ve got. The SCCC suggests burying multiple pairs for comparing soil tilth at different locations. “If there’s not much left of the underwear you have good biological activity, which indicates healthy soil,” reads the campaign brochure.
Sponsored by Stanfield’s (naturally), the #SoilYourUndies campaign wants to see the fruits of your labours after the two-month mark, while the SCCC says that it will be doing its part with an Official Stanfield’s underwear burial at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum in Ottawa, followed by an Official digging up of the underwear in July. (And check out this rendition of the soil your undies experiment conducted by grade 7 student, Michael Jones — who won the 4-H Canada Science Fair, no less, for his efforts!)
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The 2017 federal budget released in March prominently featured Canada’s agri-food sector as one of the six key areas targeted for investment as part of the new Innovation and Skills Plan, including a $70 million investment over six years to focus on emerging agricultural priorities such as climate change and soil and water conservation.
The budget was greeted warmly overall by the agri-food industry, with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture stating that the government’s new priorities clearly signal a recognition of the leading role that agriculture and agri-food play in Canada’s economy, pointing particularly to the government’s commitment to increasing agri-food exports to $75 billion annually by 2025.
“CFA is encouraged that the government envisions an expanded role for farmers and agri-food businesses as part of its innovation agenda. Farmers have been saying for years that agriculture is a strategic sector for Canada, given our vast natural resources, our research and technology, and our skilled labour force,” said CFA President Ron Bonnett in a statement. “We look forward to talking with elected officials to chart a course toward greater success, and to determining how the government’s plans align with our own efforts, such as our call for a National Food Strategy and enhanced market development, both domestically and across the world.”