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EIT Food signs EU Mission Soil Manifesto signalling urgent need to improve soil health

  • EIT Food demonstrates ongoing commitment to protecting and restoring soils
  • Manifesto welcomed as an opportunity to build community around soil protection
  • EIT Food uniquely positioned to grapple with systemic change needed to accelerate action on soils
27 Jun 2023

EIT Food has signed the EU Mission Soil Manifesto, signalling the need to increase soil protection and restoration globally. EIT Food is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union.

Soil is essential for food production, biodiversity, carbon sequestration and water regulation, but is facing significant threat from intensive practices, monocultures and chemical pollution. With over 60% of soils in the EU considered to be in an unhealthy state, the Mission Soil Manifesto aims to build a community of policymakers, businesses, organisations, research institutions and individuals dedicated to protecting and improving soils at global, regional and local levels.

As the world’s largest food innovation community, EIT Food is signing the Manifesto to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to take action towards improving soil health and amplify its importance for future-proofing the food system.

EIT Food runs a suite of programmes focused on increasing training, resources and support for farming practices that prioritise soil regeneration through minimising artificial production inputs and working in harmony with nature. Through its Regenerative Agriculture Works initiative, which aims to help farmers and agrifood businesses adopt more regenerative farming practices, EIT Food has already trained over 1,200 farmers across eight countries and supported a further 166 farmers through advisory programmes.

EIT Food’s Test Farms programme links innovative agricultural startups with farmers to enable entrepreneurs to test and validate their products and services in the field, showcase their ideas and support the technological transformation in European agriculture. To date, the scheme has generated 80 matches between innovators and farms, with innovations ranging from pest-detecting artificial intelligence and digital camera technology to circular biochar solutions, all of which support the regenerative agriculture transition.

As a signatory of the manifesto, EIT Food signals its support for the EU Mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’ and its goal to create 100 living labs (places for on-the-ground experiments) and lighthouses (sites for showcasing good practices) that lead the transition towards healthy soils in rural and urban areas by 2030. By joining the community of signatories, EIT Food will have access to opportunities to take part in knowledge sharing activities and events to exchange best practices for soil protection.

“Healthy soils are essential for producing safe and nutritious food and for food security. Since the launch of the Horizon Europe Mission Soil, we have advanced in the recognition of the soil health challenges, in monitoring soil health, in the identification of innovative solutions and in awareness raising.

“Everyone has a role to play in improving soil health: from farmers to industries and food processors, from the local to the global level, policymakers, consumers, citizens, we should all work together and act for improving soil health.

"By signing the Mission Soil Manifesto we take a symbolic commitment to protect and restore our soils. The EIT Food official signature of the Manifesto is an encouraging signal for concrete actions in the food sector. I am confident: together we will be able to make the change."

- Kerstin Rosenow, Head of the Unit responsible for R&I in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development