Newsletter n. 44


1.EXPERIENCES: Can we live on agriculture in small-scale spaces ?


3.NEWS ON SOIL AND EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS: First European Agroecology Forum



Can we live on agriculture in small-scale spaces?

Filippo Dattola had worked in in IT in Bologna (Italy) for 10 years. He landed in Brussels nearly 8 years ago, where he developed an interest in soil, became a fan of urban agriculture and began to look for answers to the question: ‘Can we live on agriculture in small-scale spaces?’.

After some research he realised that the only possible way to answer to this question could be found by creating projects, examples that could speak more than thousands of words. Action was needed, an example of which is one of the greatest drivers of change. In 2012 he launched his first project via an association: a biological garden on the rooftop of the Belgian National Library, 50 metres above land and at the very heart of Brussels (see picture). Produce never made people wait too long: 500kg of vegetables in 500 bags, each with a depth of +/- 30 cm and full of earthworms. After only 2 years, he was able to make do without the public subsidies allocated to the project, and he was able to pay his volunteers with the direct sales of the vegetable production. This shows that soil can even be generous in “precarious” situations: where there is earth, there is life! Continua a leggere “Can we live on agriculture in small-scale spaces?”

Third Online Assembly of the Soil Europe Group (SEG) – 10 and 11 February

On 10 and 11 February, the third online assembly of the SIP Forum’s working group Soil Europe took place. This is merely a virtual meeting, as it takes place via email exchange. We asked participants to confirm their attendance by merely checking their computer or tablets and react to the issues raised.

We believe we have acquired expertise in the area, given that the previous two assemblies took place in the same format.

The working programme called for in last year’s assembly had a multi-annual nature. Aside from reviewing results of the defined actions, this year’s Assembly reviewed and updated the programme for the year 2018. The final document of the Assembly is being finalized and will be available in the next Newsletter.

For more information about the outcomes of the 2018 SEG Assembly, please contact

European social dialogue for sustainable construction

Last year, the Soil Europe Group on behalf of the SIP Forum was developing contacts and urging institutions to organize meetings and dialogues with institutional and social actors who deal with soil. Some of the counterparties underlined that the debate was already taking place and that representatives of civil society and those from construction companies had already published some guidelines.

Our counterparties were referring to the Communication from the European Commission to the European Parliament and the Council Strategy entitled “Strategy for sustainable competitiveness of the construction sector and its enterprises” (COM/2012/0433 of 31/7/2012). They also meant the “BROAD – Building a Green Social Dialogue”, a research project financed by the Commission. Continua a leggere “European social dialogue for sustainable construction”

The first Agroecology Europe Forum

In 2014, the FAO in Rome hosted the first International Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition . In the wake of the symposium, several follow-up meetings were organised, also at the FAO’s initiative, on several continents. In Europe, the meeting was held in Lyon (France) on 25-27 October 2017, within the prestigious Isara University. Over 300 guests, representing farmers, technicians, researchers, students, national and international public institutions, civil society and NGOs attended this first Agroecology Europe Forum.

As a reminder, agroecology is understood as the implementation of ecological principles to agriculture, whether to produce food or other products, all of which is based on the management of agrosystems. This word encapsulates an agricultural concept whereby the scientific and social components of the ecosystem are taken into account. In other words, it is about creating a sustainable way of farming, able to feed the growing world population without jeopardising the environment and its natural resources. Naturally, it must also bring about economic viability to the farmers. The fundamental binding factor here is the soil. Continua a leggere “The first Agroecology Europe Forum”

Social Soil (Romania)

Nowadays, when we think of the word “farmer”, we often think of subsistence agriculture, picturing a farmer working the soil with much backbreaking toil. Yet, this word has a very strong semantic value. When translated from the French word “paysan”, it is associated with the landscape (“paysage”), and therefore with the land or country (“pays”) and there is no village or landscape without its farmer. Therefore it is only legitimate to not only take into account the economic and productive value of farming, but also its social and cultural value.

With regard to soil and land, a farmer must make sure his natural resources are safeguarded, he cannot simply exploit them, or they would not regenerate. For this reason, many organisations over Europe seek to defend land and fight to preserve it. These fights can focus on defending and maintaining farming land or for their change of use, against overbuilding, deforestation or the use of pollutants…and the list goes on. Continua a leggere “Social Soil (Romania)”

The 4 per 1000 collaborative platform

The 4 per 1000 initiative’s aim is to bring together partners from the public and private sector in order to achieve a farming system based on the sustainable management of land and soil all the while creating well-paid and dignified employment opportunities. A well-managed soil, enriched in organic matter, and therefore in carbon, is more fertile and has an immediate positive impact on climate change, thereby reducing greenhouse gas effect.

The Bonn meeting consolidated the Initiative’s structure and produced a roadmap for the coming year. Despite a difficult beginning, this complex organisational system is growing strong. Continua a leggere “The 4 per 1000 collaborative platform”