SOLO takes part in the European Mission Soil Week

01 Dec 2023

The first European Mission Soil Week was held on 21-23 November 2023 at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in Madrid, Spain. Under the name “Leading the transition towards healthy soils”, the event was organised by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) in the context of the Mission Soil, together with the EU-funded project PREPSOIL and the Joint Research Centre - EU Soil Observatory (EUSO). During the three-day event, plenary talks from policymakers, researchers, and practitioners took place from all regions in the EU. This was also an opportunity for representatives of the EU Horizon projects associated with the Soil Mission to meet and discuss project goals and strategies. The peak in-person participation reached 310 participants while online participation reached a peak of 402 participants, with 640 unique participants throughout the event. 

In addition to opportunities to hear from the Soil Mission leadership and projects, the event was also an opportunity for all attendees to give feedback during eight topical breakout sessions across the three days. These included:

  • Soil health for climate;

  • Soil health for food;

  • Farming practices for soil health;

  • Soil needs in PREPSOIL regions: Engaging with multiple actors;

  • Knowledge transfer to farm advisors;

  • Living Labs and other experiences from place-based innovation;

  • Soil biodiversity; 

  • Business models for soil health.

Overall themes that were reiterated throughout the 3 days were the need for better reciprocal communication between researchers and practitioners, awareness and education regarding soils and soil health, and the needs of the different regions of the EU. Some interesting discussions were the need for linking soil life with soil fertility and increasing yields (and profits) for growers and the integration of different project aims.

SOLO coordinator, Dr. Carlos Guerra, and Science-Policy Coordinator, Dr. Monica Farfan, distributed materials about the SOLO project, including soil animal stickers and other printed materials about the project aims and progress thus far (i.e. a brochure identifying knowledge gaps to guide the EU Soil Mission funding priorities). Their goals were to introduce attendees to the project and create collaborations with stakeholders and the other projects. Look for new materials and educational tools coming soon!

To learn more about the first Soil Mission week, check out the event website where the full programme, speakers, and recordings of the plenary talks and discussions are housed.

Image: SOLO’s Work Package 4 leader Wim van der Putten from NIOO-KNAW at the European Soil Week