The LivingSoiLL project, submitted to the Horizon Europe program with the support of INOVA+, was approved and will receive 12 million euros to improve the health of European soils. The project is led by UTAD and officially starts in June.

The LivingSoiLL project brings together 50 partners from five countries – Portugal, France, Spain, Italy and Poland – with a common objective: to promote and restore the health of European soils. After supporting the consortium in the application process, INOVA+ is now responsible for supporting the technical coordinator in project management, for the design and promotion of the Open Call for the adhesion of new actors, and for the communication and dissemination of activities, including the organization of knowledge sharing events.

Lasting 4 and a half years, LivingSoiLL envisages the creation of five Living Laboratories (LV). In each laboratory, innovative solutions will be co-created and tested for the soils of five permanent crops: vineyards, olive groves, chestnut trees, hazelnuts, and apple trees. The emphasis will be on reducing erosion, improving soil structure, reducing the intensive use of fertilizers and pesticides, increasing water storage, strengthening soil biodiversity and environmental resilience.

LVs will function as participatory innovation ecosystems, integrating companies, universities, public administrations, and citizens. It is planned to actively engage more than 2,000 local stakeholders, including farmers and communities, to promote soil literacy and encourage the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices.

Living Lab in the north of Portugal and Galicia focused on vineyards and olive groves

One of the laboratories to be created will be LV Luso-Galaico, which will focus on the two most important permanent crops in the north of Portugal and Galicia (vineyards and olive groves). This laboratory has a group of 14 partners, highlighting the strong collaboration between teaching/research institutions (UTAD, University of Porto, University of Vigo) and the wine and olive oil business sector.

The project aims to establish 50 demonstration sites and 10 model farms (“lighthouses”). Among the objectives of LivingSoiLL is also the production of policy recommendations on the best soil management practices in permanent crops.

With this approach, a pioneer at European level, the LivingSoiLL project aims to help the European Union maintain healthy soils for future generations, with a positive impact on sustainable food production, water and climate regulation and biodiversity conservation.

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