If you’ve been reading this blog for any reasonable stretch of time, you know that I’m a big proponent of getting dirty. By overvaluing sterility and fearing dirt – in our homes, our guts, even our hospitals – we’ve impaired our immune systems, our gut and digestive health, and even our mental health. The world is a dirty place, and we need to accept that. We need to embrace it, within reason, especially if we’re wards of tiny still-developing humans for whom exposure to dirt has important and resounding benefits. You’ve got the benefits to current and future immune function that I’ve gone over in the past. Then you’ve got soil-based microbes like Mycobacterium vaccae, which increase serotonin levels and may be responsible for the positive disposition that seems to be universal among hobby gardeners. It’s probably why kids have a natural inclination to engage with the ground, get handsy with the soil and make out with mother nature. I say we let them.