Sustainable agriculture is indeed based on soil health. In universities around the world, soil science and agriculture has focused on two aspects of soil: soil chemistry and the physical nature of soils. The heretofore neglected aspect, foundational to the other two, however, is soil biology. This is the microbial life that drives all of the chemical activity and leads directly to the production of food products based on plant growth. … It's nature's cycle, and when we violate its laws, we suffer the consequences outlined in your story: dead, lifeless soils. And people starve.