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Author: Marie Hathaway

Pasa staff and fellow Pennsylvania Soil Health Coalition members join farmer Steve Groff at Cedar Meadow Farm to kick off the #SoilYourUndiesChallenge

Band together with us for a fun hands-on science experiment to test your soil health

Healthy soils are hungry! 🦠 There are billions of microbes—bacteria, fungi, protozoa—in just a teaspoon of soil. These soil microbes need to eat and breathe just like we do. What do they eat? Carbon.

Carbon is a common element in all organic compounds, including cotton. So when 100% cotton underwear is buried in the soil, the worms and microbes see it as food.

As a member of the Pennsylvania Soil Health Coalition, Pasa’s staff is participating in the #SoilYourUndiesChallenge by burying underwear across the state—in farm fields, community garden beds, office building front yards, and rural and urban back yards. After 60 days, we’ll dig them up and compare the results: the less underwear left, the healthier the soil.

Join us in this fun-for-the-whole-family experiment to learn more about soil health near you. Check out our staff submissions below. Keep on scrolling to find instructions for participating!


Here’s our staff’s soon to be dirty laundry:

Development Assistant Ashlee Dugan, Operations Director Christina Kostelecky, and Policy Strategist Sara Nicholas putting it all on the line in the name of soil health.
Diversified Vegetable Pre-Apprenticeship Program Associate Lisa Miskelly soiled her undies at her draft-horse powered farm, Good Work Farm. She enlisted the help of celebrity farm dog Rocco. (Northampton County)
Community Development Director Meg De Brito planting panties at a community garden near Pasa’s (new!) Philadelphia hub office.
“What grows when you plant underwear? Bloomers!” Tami Ishikawa planted undies at Village Acres Farm & Foodshed, where she’s been spending her time as an exchange student with Executive Director Hannah Smith-Brubaker and her family. (Juniata County)
Dairy Grazing Project Manager Lucas Waybright told his kiddos, “there are billions of microbes under there.” They replied, “Under-WEAR!?!” (Adams County)
Policy Strategist Sara Nicholas planting some lawn-gierie in front of our home office in Harrisburg.
Three Rivers Hub Manager Dan Dalton reports that his Soil Your Undies entry is “urban micro farm dog tested, and kid approved.” (Pittsburgh)


Here’s how to take part in this BRIEF community science project:

✏️ Sign up for the challenge at pasoilhealth.org.
🩲 Get a pair of 100% cotton undies.
📏 Plant them in your soil (3–4 inches deep) any time before June 30.
⛳ Mark the location.
🗓️ Wait 60 days.
🔍 Carefully dig them up to see what’s left. The less, the better.
📷 Don’t forget to take before and after photos!

Tag @soilyourundies@pasoilhealth & @pasafarming to share your results with us.

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