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Soil health, Agricultural practice, OSCIA, Ontario, Environmental Farm Plan, Sustainability, University of Guelph

The Soil Fixers
Land stewards committed to the cause
by Harold B. Rudy

Are they human, biological, extraterrestrial?

The future of our food, our waterways, our climate, and our civilization depend upon soil. How we conserve, or repair damage to this essential resource is one of the most important commitments of our generation! This author leads us on a 30-year journey of discovery working with those closest to the land as they tackle significant challenges of soil protection, restoration, and sustainability.

“An inspiring, personal story about an organization dedicated to solving one of humanity’s most important and all-too-often overlooked crises.”

- Dr. David R. Montgomery, author of Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life.

“While capturing the history of his organization (the OSCIA), Harold Rudy has also documented the social and environmental challenges facing agriculture. He also offers a solution. Interested in how industry, government, and academia have worked together to create meaningful change? Read on.”

- Dr. Deb Stark, Deputy Minister 2013–2016, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

“Did you know that careful management of the soil can protect our food security, natural resources, and future generations? Harold Rudy has thirty years involvement with the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association and gives us the inside story. He brings together the experiences of 4,000 members—the soil fixers—who continue to actively test and adopt optimal soil management and cropping practices. For anyone interested in environmental stewardship and the challenges of food production, this is a must-read book.”

- Catharine Wilson, PhD, F.R.S.C., Redelmeier Professor in Rural History, University of Guelph, and Director of the Rural Diary Archive.

“Taking care of our soils is essential for sustainable food production. As a researcher, I play my role by studying soils, but it is farmers and landowners who are entrusted to look after soil for now and the future. In The Soil Fixers, Harold Rudy describes his fascinating thirty-year journey guiding farmers to keep soils healthy while delivering food and protecting water and air. The Soil Fixers is filled with anecdotes and reams of information made accessible by colourful language such as ‘Who Got High on the High Crop Residue Program.’ The book charts the past journey of soil health in Ontario and is a must-read for anyone interested in ensuring the future health of our soils and long-term food production.”

- Professor Claudia Wagner-Riddle, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph.

"Too often as time moves on, the accomplishments of organizations and individuals are forgotten. The Soil Fixers by Harold Rudy will not allow that to happen. Soils are responsible for producing food on our tables and this engaging journey spanning several decades outlines the conservation work to preservation and improvement of farmland in Ontario."

- Honorable Lyle Vanclief, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (1997-2003).

Having grown up on a Mennonite family farm in Waterloo County, Ontario, Canada, as one of ten siblings, Harold Rudy is totally engrossed in all things agriculture. With a B. Sc. (Agriculture) and a M. Sc. (Rural Planning and Development), both from the University of Guelph, he has been privileged to dedicate his 30-year career toward advancing the environmental stewardship programs of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association. As a 2017 inductee into the Canadian Conservation Hall of Fame and recipient of the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association Life-time Achievement Award in 2016, Harold is solidly grounded in soil and crop matters and is recognized as an authority on the many challenges confronting food production, environmental stewardship, and the ever-increasing pressures of our farm communities. He lives with his partner Sandra on the family homestead established by his parents in 1929; nearly 90 years later, it continues to specialize in horticultural production.

Proceeds from this book belong to the non-profit Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association. Earnings will support student scholarships and on-farm soil and crop research.


Harold B. Rudy
Barry Gunn, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Dan Needles, Author and Playright

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