The Man Who Stopped the Desert - How One Man Saved the Soil (Video)
Image credit: 1080 Films
From Wangaari Maathai's Billion Tree campaign to lush permaculture landscapes in Jordan, we've seen how individuals and communities can reverse desertification and bring life back to arid soils. Now a new dramatized documentary brings us the story of Yacouba Sawadogo, an illiterate African farmer whose pioneering techniques have, according to one expert, done more for soil conservation in the Sahel region of Africa than all of the national and international soil experts combined. It's amazing stuff.
Using, and then enhancing, traditional "zai" techniques for restoring degraded land, which involve planting seeds directly into pits that have been enhanced with small handfuls of composted dung, Yacouba Sawadogo has spent over a quarter century experimenting with his soils, and then teaching his fellow farmers, resulting in the successful rehabilitation of farmland, the regrowth of forests, and attention from international media and non-profit organizations who wanted to learn more about Sawadogo's techniques.
Now a new documentary, that includes a dramatization of Sawadogo's life, and the struggles he has faced in gaining acceptance for his approach, is set to bring his story to a broader audience. The movie traces Sawadogo's story from his early education, through his days researching and developing his farming techniques, to his recent journey to the USA to participate in an Oxfam panel on greening the Sahel.
More on Soil, Soil Restoration and the Magic of Soil Life
Wangaari Maathai's Billion Tree campaign
Greening the Desert Revisited: Permaculture in Jordan
Compost as Animal Husbandry: Moving Way Beyond Recycling
40 Tons of Life in One Acre of Soil: Geoff Lawton on the Magic of Soil (Video)