Book review: The Soil Will Save Us – Kristin Ohlson

Women in Ag Magazine editor Antoon Vanderstraeten reviews a book about agriculture written by a female author for every issue. 

Although “The soil will save us” by Kristin Ohlson is now almost 10 years old, the book is certainly not dated. The author, a farmers’ granddaughter, thoroughly studied carbon for several years, more specifically the carbon that is supposed to be in the soil but has been released into the air through thousands of years of (intensive) agriculture. In a process that took thousands of years, 10 years are only an instant. Through interviews with farmers, ranchers and scientists, Kristin Ohlson paints a picture of a possible solution to problems the agricultural sector worldwide is facing, such as erosion, nutrient loss and nitrogen problems. The key to the solution? Soil. Living, rich soil, full of bacteria and fungi.

“The soil will save us” is no high-level scientific literature. Certain claims are not supported by impressive numbers and statistics. But they don’t have to. The book reads smoothly and triggers the reader. It offers points of view for the readers to think about. The title of the book is no lie, and the book cites several ways exactly how the soil can save us. “The soil will save us” can serve as a source of inspiration for many. Not to suddenly turn the business completely upside down, but rather to take a look at how small changes might have big consequences.

I read the book last winter, by the fireplace, with a cup of tea or a glass of whiskey at hand. The ideal setting for me to immerse myself in a book. The book fascinated me, so much so that often I found that my tea was cold or the block of wood on the fire was about to burn out. I was disappointed to have reached the final page so quickly. For me, the book could easily be twice as thick. With the topic brought up by Kristin Ohlson, this would have been entirely possible. But only this one version was released in 2014. Light reading on a fairly heavy subject. No complicated numbers, but stories from the field that can serve as inspiration. I’d very much like to read more books like this!


The Soil will Save Us by Kristin Ohlson

Publisher: Rodale Press Hardcover, 242 pages

Buy the book (Amazon)


















This article was published in Women in Ag Magazine 2022-3. Click here to read the magazine.

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