In 2015, the Food and Agriculture Organization stated that "The main problem humanity is currently facing is not global warming, extinction of species or any other environmental crisis-the main problem we will have to face is the degradation of our soils". According to soil scientists, with the current rates of soil destruction, we will not only suffer serious damage to public health due to degraded food supply, characterized by diminished nutrition and loss of important trace minerals, but we will have no longer have enough topsoil to feed ourselves, halt the loss of biodiversity or keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.
Regenerating soils as a starting point for an upwards spiral for both farmers and society
Healthy soils are capable of producing high quality, nutrient dense food while simultaneously improving, rather than degrading land, and ultimately leading to productive farms and healthy communities and economies. Healthy soils reduce and eventually eliminate, the demand for artificial input and heavy machinery, which in turn improves the environmental and financial case for both farmers and society.
The showcase farm will fill the practical knowledge gap for large-scale arable farmers
Currently, the interest in regenerative organic agriculture is growing amongst a wide variety of actors, varying from farmers to (food) companies to investors. There is a lot of conceptual information about regenerative agriculture but a lack of practical information for farmers on how to transit towards regenerative organic agriculture, including benefits, costs, a phased approach matching their local climate and -context. Jeroen Klompe (Farming director of Klompe Landbouw): "Farmers need to see, feel and smell the land, and learn new practices from farmers, rather than from consultants composing models behind their desks". To fill the knowledge gap for farmers, the first Soil Heroes showcase farm will generate practical knowledge for farmers to transit to regenerative (organic) agriculture by enabling peer-2-peer learning, validating regenerative agricultural practices, and accompanying business cases for farmers in The North- West European context.