Soil Health and Food

The foresight project “Support to the Mission Board Soil Health and Food” (Framework Contract 2018/RTD/A2/OP/PP-07001-2018-LOT1) aimed to provide forward-looking evidence to support the Mission Board in the drawing of a shared vision, making the most of the geographical and disciplinary diversity of its members. Adopting a long-term perspective, the project first offered insights to better understand the drivers, trends and weak signals with the most significant potential to influence the future of soils health and food. This analysis served as background for the organisation of a Scenario workshop with the Mission Board in which three different and plausible scenarios at 2040 were sketched. In the final step, the FOD team built on existing system-thinking knowledge to identify concepts, solutions, and practices able to promote systematic change in the soil health and food sector.

The overarching research goal is to achieve ‘healthy soils’ across ecosystems for food, nature and climate. The concept of ecosystem services provided the opportunity of conceptually linking complex processes in soils to economic and policy thinking. In line with the Mission Board’s works/objectives, the project took a holistic and systemic view of soil health and food, one that goes beyond the assessment of the main effects of individual actions by focusing on their interactions, feed-back and feed-forward loops. The report provides an overview of systems thinking, across scales; current synthesis of the linkages between management practices with soil indicators, and definitions and an outline of criteria for Living Laboratories. As such, it provides information that can help to enhance the vision for the soil health and food Mission, outlined by the Mission Board in “Caring for Soil is Caring for Life” (2020).

Client: EC Mission Boards

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