LET’S PREPARE THE SOIL FOR THE FUTURE: the European projects PREPSOIL and EXCALIBUR and the demonstration region of the Po valley

04 May 2023, MACFRUT, Rimini – Mimosa 2 Hall, Pavilion B6

Event promoted by:
RE SOIL Foundation within the European project PREPSOIL (101070045 — PREPSOIL — HORIZON-MISS-2021-SOIL-01)
RI.NOVA within the European project EXCALIBUR (817946 – EXCALIBUR – H2020-SFS-2018 -2020)

The European mission “A soil deal for Europe” has the ambitious goal of guiding the transition to healthy soils in Europe by 2030. Key elements for achieving this goal are research centers on the territories (Living Labs), farms virtuous companies that act as a model (Lighthouse Farms) and a multi-sectoral and shared research approach.

The Re Soil foundation was created with the aim of boosting real change starting from soil protection and the key concept of territorial regeneration and is a partner of the European PREPSOIL project.

The PREPSOIL project, coordinated by the University of Aarhus (DK), involves 19 partners on the European territory and aims to facilitate the achievement of the objectives of the European Mission, through interaction, knowledge sharing and the collection of information on different territories.

PREPSOIL has selected 21 study areas in Europe, which will serve as laboratories for analyzing different soil management options and for optimizing their ecosystem services. In these areas, Living Labs and Lighthouse farms representative of the area will also be identified, in order to contribute to the increase of knowledge and the sharing of good practices. The lowland area of the Emilia-Romagna Region has been selected as a demonstration region for Italy.

EXCALIBUR, an H2020 project coordinated by CREA (Italy), aims at increasing the knowledge about the interaction between horticultural crops and native soil biodiversity, as affected by microbial biostimulants, biopesticides and bioeffectors (organic biostimulants and fertilisers). Improving soil biodiversity through a correct application of these products, obtained from selected microbial strains and formulated to achieve an optimal performance, is expected to promote the reduction of chemical inputs towards a more sustainable agriculture.

In this respect, 32 trials are performed in 8 EU countries under different pedo-climatic conditions with three major crops (apple, strawberry and tomato) managed under both organic and conventional methods. The impact on biodiversity is assessed at several trophic levels, from bacteria to fungi, to nematodes and protists up to mesofauna and earthworms applying different methods.

The workshop is aimed at all stakeholders in the area who manage the soil at various levels (institutions, research centres, farmers) and aims to bring about a dialogue between the various players to highlight the state of the art, needs and threats, together with good practices and solutions to be applied to the soils of the region to achieve the objectives of the European Soil Mission.


13.00 Networking buffet
2.00 pm Greetings:

  • Coldiretti (TBC)
  • M. Caggiano (Prepsoil – Re Soil Foundation)
  • E. Malusà (Excalibur – Inhort)

14:15 Institutional session – policies in favor of the soil (Moderator F. Giardina – Coldiretti Bio)

  • The PREPSOIL project – Pablo Gòmez Grande (CSIC)
  • Objectives, activities and mission of the Excalibur project – M. G. Tommasini (RI.NOVA)
  • PREPSOIL: role and activities of the Re Soil Foundation – P. Bazzocchi (Re Soil Foundation)
  • The Mission “A Soil Deal for Europe” and European policies for healthy soil – F. Fava (Member of the national delegation for the Mission “A Soil Deal for Europe” at the European Commission)
  • Plant biostimulants within the EU Fertilizer Regulation: market opportunities and regulatory
    constraints – A. Trinchera (CREA)
  • National policies for soil protection –– S. Vanino (SOIL HUB, CREA)
  • Policy and tool integration at the European, National and local level – F. Assennato – (ISPRA)
  • Regional policies for soil protection: good practices and prospects for the future – G. Sarno – (EMILIA-ROMAGNA REGION)

Questions and discussion

15:45 Session – Microbial and organic biostimulants to improve soil biodiversity and ecosystem services. Moderator: Maria Grazia Tommasini (RI.NOVA)

  • How is soil biodiversity affected by agricultural practices? – E. Malusà (INHORT)
  • Use of microbial and organic biostimulants for plant protection: some results of experimental tests
    conducted on fruit and vegetable crops – M. Pugliese (University of Turin)
  • Interest and investments of the industry in the biostimulant sector – L. Gallo (President of the
  • Assofertilizzanti Specialist Fertilizers Group – Federchimica)

Questions and discussion

16:30 Round table: Past, present, future of the soil: comparing good practices – Moderator C. Marzadori
(University of Bologna, DISTAL)

Online questionnaire

Round table: soil cultivators

  • University of the Sacred Heart of Piacenza (A. Ferrarini)
  • CRPA
  • Ri.Nova (M.G. Tommasini)
  • Case study Farmer’s case study (Pallara)
  • Case study Farmer’s case study (Agribologna)

17:20 Conclusions by C. Marzadori e M. Pugliese