fields4Ever a global Soil Health initiative
by Juan Vicente Beneitez Lajas on May 11, 2020 11:17:46 AM
The first actions of fields4ever will focus its reach in the EU region and will include open access to soil health testing tools.
Analyzing and protecting soil health has become one of the five key missions included in the incoming European Union research and innovation program (Horizon Europe). In order to foster this purpose, the EU has decided to support the fields4ever initiative, promoting Biome Makers.
As the promoter of fields4ever, Biome Makers is contributing with 10,000 functional soil tests, valued at €4 million, that will be available via open calls and direct actions to agricultural players and researchers.
Fields4ever is a global initiative for the conservation and monitoring of soil health by promoting the development of more sustainable and respectful agriculture management. Fields4ever is open to any public or private organization willing to contribute to expanding this global action.
The role of soil health in climate change and food production
Improving the soil health of agricultural lands holds the potential for achieving meaningful conservation and economic benefits, as well as mitigating the growing threat of climate change. Indeed, unhealthy soil is becoming a worldwide issue.
More than 1 billion people are employed in agriculture worldwide, an active engine to feed the world population. While as a society we have been able to increase the agriculture yield in the last 40 years, the cost of this increase over the natural resources has been also high. Indeed, roughly 1/3 of the world ́s arable land has been lost in this period, while farmers’ economy remained linear.
“Soils are the primary support of life on earth and, we aim at helping Agriculture to feed the world while preserving soils, biodiversity, and reducing climate change. Maintaining the soil healthy is imperative for long-term sustainable intensification", explains Adrián Ferrero, Co-founder, and CEO of Biome Makers.
Fields Forever areas of activity
In order to move forward from theory to action, for providing a pragmatic and measurable approach, and to homogenize soil quality assessment, we have promoted the initiative fields4ever that is involving relevant stakeholders in the global agriculture ecosystem such as farmers, ag input providers, technical support service operators, and regulators. The European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program has contributed to fields4ever initiative to impact European agriculture and soil positively.
Fields4ever is an initiative with global reach that will promote actions in the following main areas:
- Support scientific researchers: granting access to advanced soil quality assessment tools
- Support farmers: promoting soil quality assessment and training
- Support manufacturers: measuring the impact of agro-inputs in soil ́s bioactivity
- Support digitalization: soil data connection and integration with precision agriculture platforms.
- Support agriculture policy: soil quality measurement standardization and data
Open access to Soil Health assessment tools for farmers and researchers
Fields4ever initiative looks at the soil as a living ecosystem and utilizes the soil microbiome as a biomarker for soil health and productivity. Soil is a precious natural resource inhabited by a community of microorganisms – the soil microbiome, a connected microbial network that reflects any modifications happening in-field. Indeed, the soil microbiome is the most powerful and natural biomarker of soil bioactivity and its functionality. Furthermore, the soil microbiome plays an essential role in crops’ development and productivity and is being considered the external plant immune system.
For this reason, the first project within the fields4ever initiative consists of the monitoring of up to 1M acres (0.4M ha) for 18 months, which will result in detailed insight into the soil health status. Biome Makers has developed advanced soil quality assessment tools that combine technologies of DNA Sequencing and Intelligent Computing to monitor this biomarker.
"The world is rapidly evolving thanks to the great technological breakthroughs happening in all sectors. However, it is essential to rationalize the impact of human activities to ensure that we can overcome the challenges and sustain life in the long term. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to execute collective actions to secure the preservation of natural resources and, the conservation of soils' quality and productivity, is one of these key resources", states Alberto Acedo, Co-founder, and CSO of Biome Makers.
Open Initiative for partners in agroecosystem
Fields Forever are born with a global ambition. For this reason, Biome Makers is looking for public and private partners and supporters to join this initiative for expanding this global action. The purpose of fields4ever is to become a worldwide community of health soil crusaders willing to contribute by their coordinated actions to restore life in agricultural land, promote sustainability across soil biodiversity, and increase yield. Fields4ever has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 947084. Any organization can contribute to the initiative in different forms. Together, it is possible can expand the scope and goals of this initiative by putting soil health at the center of the action.