Newsletter n.42


To all our readers… Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

1.EXPERIENCES: Mondeggi – turning the “soil, common good” concept into reality


3.NEWS ON SOIL AND EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS: Living Soils Symposium and 2nd Global Soil Biodiversity Conference



Mondeggi – turning the “soil, common good” concept into reality

Those of you who have read Marco Cappato’s recent book entitled “Credere, disobbedire, combattere” (Believe, disobey, fight) you will have seen examples which reflect the saying “obedience is no longer a virtue”[1]. Our current society, one steered towards profit, needs to develop courage to prove that “another world is possible”. Putting ideas that are seen as idealistic or visionary and aimed at preserving human dignity into practice, is the real challenge we must face, and that future generations must solve.

“Soil, a common good” is one of these concepts: it is abstract on the outside, however it sums up its crucial impact on our lives. It indicates how a sustainable use of soil is a matter of urgency. If we want a society, which can be economically viable in the short run and sustainable in the long run, biophysical and socio-economic factors must inevitably go hand in hand. Human beings have full responsibility for this approach, as future soil degradation as well as its protection both depend on it. Continua a leggere “Mondeggi – turning the “soil, common good” concept into reality”


Soil is Life! – World Soil Day in Brussels

Soil has always been regarded as a specialists’ matter. Its “World Day” sees a series of initiatives in which only those who “work in the area” tend to participate.

The SIP Forum together through its Soil Europe Group opted for a different approach this year. They presented soil to those who do not know anything about it, by using simple language and clear means of communication.

Thanks to the availability and support of the Italian Institute of Culture (IIC) in Brussels, an event based on storytelling, videos, music and experiences took place. Professional and amateur actors, researchers, volunteers: a group of over 10 people took the floor of the IIC theatre. Spectators were encouraged to take part in the performances. The idea was to communicate via discussion and laughter, by exploring possible solutions and not constantly sharing catastrophic numbers on the soil’s condition. The event was therefore divided in two main parts: describing problems related to soil; and considering possible solutions and practical examples, some of which exist already and are not very well-known. This latter part was led by a series of youngsters who practice highly sustainable agriculture.

Further details: https://goo.gl/kfNsF4

Event Videos: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLC1LOG1_txKvqwqSc05LxG8T5VQvDztib


Building up synergies and dialogue

One of the main aims the SIP Forum is trying to reach with the Soil Europe Group (SIP-SEG) is to make contact with associations and civil society representations. The aim is to create a network of groups, institutions and people in Europe who can agree on the common objective to save and protect soil for current and future generations.

With this view, contacts are made informally with concerned people and groups in various EU Member States. The intention is to check people’s availability to converge on same objectives.

Let’ remind that we mainly try to appeal to groups and associations that do not deal with soil as a main priority. With those who do have soil as a priority, we keep finding ways to make connections and create synergies. Continua a leggere “Building up synergies and dialogue”


Living Soils Symposium and 2nd Global Soil Biodiversity Conference

October has been a particularly “fertile” month for soil. Aside from the EU Estonian Presidency initiatives (which was spoken of in last month’s newsletter), the Symposium in Canada and the Global Conference on Soil Biodiversity in China, also took place.

Living Soils Symposium was organised by Concordia University in Montreal on 13-15 October. This conference was not a debate only for researchers and scientists. It referred to the international framework of current international activities (4per1000, FAO Global Symposium on Organic Carbon and the one on Food Security…), but it steered most of its attention on the dialogue and participation of civil society organisations. It is a fact that initiatives, experiences and proposals on soil fertility protection usually come into being thanks to Civil Society action. Their representatives are those, which pay more and more attention to protecting and regenerating soil.

The symposium was structured around 4 main themes:

  1. Nutrient cycling;
  2. Water filtration and water retention capacity;
  3. Inhibiting pests and pathogens for plants, animals and humans;
  4. Greenhouse gas sequestration and the production of healthy atmospheric gases.

400 participants contributed to discussions, which almost always took place in plenary sessions. This resulted in eagerness to achieve dialogue, and continue it in the future. Here joined the main Symposium recommendations. Continua a leggere “Living Soils Symposium and 2nd Global Soil Biodiversity Conference”


Map of community gardens in… Brussels (Belgium)

Many European cities have the tendency to work and produce from lands which have little to do with agricultural land. In Italian these are often known as “War gardens”, other countries use the expression “community gardens”. It is interesting to discover how more and more municipalities are encouraging this form of production. In Brussels, a map indicates 651 community gardens for the Brussels region (the capital of Belgium is administratively speaking a region), or 1175 if we were to include those in the Wallonia region. The numbers are not small, and they touch on agricultural realities which have acquired a certain type of visibility, especially on a local level. It is interesting that there are community gardens in the city-centre, as well as in the Pentagon (historical part of the town). Continua a leggere “Map of community gardens in… Brussels (Belgium)”


4 per 1000 initiative: 16 November 2017, meeting in Bonn

The Initiative Forum’s second official meeting and the 4per1000 Consortium’s third meeting took place in Bad Godesberg (Bonn). The Initiative’s relevance at state and government level was shown by the fact several Ministers and members of the authority were present during the first part. The success is also shown with the Netherlands recently becoming new members of the initiative.

Report by the Secretariat and that by the Technical and Scientific Committee illustrated this year’s activities. In sum: the 4×1000 Initiative has been actively consolidating its organisational structure. We can affirm that the work done until now by both groups has achieved the organisational aims that had been set.

Among the main leaders’ speeches, the matter of potentially causing overlapping with existing actions of organisations like FAO, European Commission and others, was mentioned. Under the current scheme of the Initiative, it is clear that exists some form of “clash” risk with the organisations that have been dealing with these matters for years. However, room for collaboration is both offered to and asked of everyone. Continua a leggere “4 per 1000 initiative: 16 November 2017, meeting in Bonn”