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Mission “Caring for Soil is Caring for Life” Scientific challenges in the field of healthy soils and food safety in the HORIZON EUROPE 2021-2027 webinar

A very fruitful webinar was arranged under MISCOMAR+ project 18th of November. The webinar addressed main issues related to Horizon Europe 2021-2027 Mission Area “Soil Health and Food”.

Soils are essential for life on earth, providing food, clean water and habitats for biodiversity, contributing to climate resilience and supporting our cultural heritage and landscapes. However, they are threatened by human activities including unsustainable management practices and contamination from industries. In this context, the next 10 years will be critical in terms of engaging Europe in a real agroecological transition.

Dr Marta Pogrzeba,  the member of the Mission “Soil Health and Food” presented objectives of the Horizon Europe Mission “Caring for Soil is Caring for Life”. The mission’s goal is to “ensure that 75% of soils are healthy by 2030 and are able to provide essential ecosystem services”, such as the provision of food and other biomass, supporting biodiversity, storing and regulating the flow of water, or mitigating the effects of climate change.

Representatives from Aberystwyth University, Terravesta Ltd, Environment Systems (UK), University of Hohenheim (DE), University of Silesia in Katowice, Pro-Akademia, Institute for Soil Science and Plant Cultivation (PL) and also IETU discussed the capacity soil health improvement taking into account variety of spatial scales, experiences and good practices as well as integrated and holistic approach to soil and ecosystem health. They tried to answer on the very important questions:

  • What research and innovation are most needed to accomplish the Mission “Caring for Soil is caring for life” objectives and goals?
  • What support and activities are needed to achieve the Mission objectives?
  • What could be the barriers to their achievement?

What is the chance to popularize the use of living lab and lighthouse? this question always causes a very interesting discussion – said dr Marta Pogrzeba, who moderated the meeting. – Living labs on soil sciences should taking into account what is the land use transition, duration of the measures and observation and finally how to keep them founded. Lighthouses and Living labs should be public available including education of the youngest generations about importance of the soil health and food quality.

In the discussion highlighted that proper soil management including precision agriculture, EU Soil Observatory system as well as modelling global soil data are the most important to reach the Mission “Caring for soil is caring for life” goals.

Caring for soil is caring for live – Report of the Mission Area "Soil Health and Food"