Shaping the EU mission ’Caring for soil is caring for life’

I was pleased to have the opportunity to participate in this EIP-AGRI Workshop in October 2020 which was organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development and the EIP-AGRI Service Point. The aim of the workshop was to present the goals, objectives and targets of the proposed Healthy Soils Mission and to get feedback from the participants on how to accomplish these objectives

The event consisted of plenary sessions, followed by interactive debates in smaller groups where participants had more in-depth discussions. This approach provided the opportunity to learn more about the Work Plan of the proposed mission as well as about some of its major building blocks. These include research and innovation priorities from practice, Living Labs and Lighthouse farms, and the creation of a supportive environment for implementing the mission’s objectives. After each session, participants actively exchanged ideas, which are fully reported on in the final report of this event which has recently been published.

The proposed mission is based on two fundamental dimensions. First, soil health should be measured and monitored, based on well-de­fined indicators and threshold values. And research should address various drivers of soil health, including management, farmers, social sciences, transition to sustainable land use, adaptation of advisory services to different levels and dissemination of existing best practices.

Alfred Grand (organic farmer, Austria, member of the Mission Board for Soil health and food) presented the R&I needs put forward by the proposed mission from a farmer’s perspective. He talked about his personal experience in running a lighthouse farm.

I acted as a volunteer back-Reporter for one of the break-out groups where we discussed additional important research needs for Priority 2 – Accelerating innovation in technologies and practices. 

All presentations, both in pdf and video format and background documents are available on the EIP-AGRI website.