Farmers from Camaquã, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, were shown to have a holistic view of the quality of the soil they are cultivating. Progress towards sustainable land management will come from the synergy of both local and formal scientific knowledge. However, the literature on soil quality largely fails to address such integration. The objective of the present work was to highlight the potential use of earthworms in indicating soil quality from a rice farmers’ perspective and using a formal scientific assessment in Camaquã. From a study of local knowledge of farmers and soil analysis it was shown that earthworms are an important component of soil quality. Although the farmers considered that earthworms indicated the quality of their soils, they hardly used them as indicators, due to their limited observation of these animals. A decision-support system to evaluate the options for using earthworms in sustainable management is needed in rice production systems.