26 February 2024

Prepsoil survey reveals knowledge of soil health among stakeholders

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There is time until Feb. 29 to participate in the soil health knowledge survey launched by PREPSOIL, the project funded by the Horizon Europe program

by Matteo Cavallito

 

Identifying the level of knowledge of key soil issues in different European countries, focusing in particular on stakeholders engaged in agricultural, forestry and urban land management. This is the goal of the latest survey conducted by PREPSOIL, the project, funded by the program Horizon Europe under the EU Mission “A Soil Deal for Europe” involving 20 partners including Re Soil Foundation.

The initiative targets multiple professionals, including consultants, farmers, urban planners, park managers, authorities and NGO workers, in seven nations: Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Spain and France.

Ideas are born among stakeholders

“The surveys aim to gain insight about local stakeholders’ prior knowledge, how the notion of soil health is manifested in their work and how they gain new knowledge about the subject,” says a statement by PREPSOIL. “TThis is important because Advisors are often seen as important mediators for change towards a more sustainable agriculture at farm level.”

Hence the need to assess knowledge on the subject and awareness of the importance of soil health among stakeholders working at local or regional level. Including farmers. “In many parts of the world,” PREPSOIL says, “farmers have been working with improving soil health at farm level long before the ideas reached the political as well as the advisory system.”

How much do you know about soil health?

For some time now, agricultural advisory professionals in both the public and private sectors have been showing a growing interest in soil health issues, the organization recalls. These professionals themselves, however, have not yet developed an “established way” of working on this issue. It is also for this reason that PREPSOIL decided to start its survey.

The study, in particular, consists of three different surveys in relation to three different land uses. By following its dedicated link, those who work with agricultural soils or are involved in forestry or are engaged in urban soil management can access the survey on their country’s own page. There is time until Feb. 29 this year to take part in the survey.

The PREPSOIL Project

The PREPSOIL project was launched with the aim of supporting the implementation of the EU Mission and “increasing people’s awareness on the vital importance of soils.” It is estimated that between 60 and 70% of EU soils are unhealthy and the EU Mission aims to restore the health of at least three-quarters of them by 2030. However, lack of knowledge and awareness continues to be a major critical factor.

This is why raising awareness and promoting knowledge dissemination is considered a key approach to the success of the Mission.

In line with these expectations, PREPSOIL wants to provide assessments and efforts to improve the knowledge baseline by working together with innovation centers such as Living Labs and LightHouse Farms. The goal is to reach a broad audience that includes universities, citizens, students, teachers, land monitoring agencies and the society as a whole.